New Research Reveals High Cost of Care for Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients in the United States

Findings from Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation study identifies therapeutics, comorbidities, and emergency room visits as major cost drivers

NEW YORK, NY – The cost of care for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in the United States has increased significantly over the past five years, according to the results of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s cost of care study. The findings from “The Cost of Inflammatory Bowel Disease: An Initiative from the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation” were released on advance access in the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases journal today, as well as presented during a poster session at the Digestive Disease Week conference on May 20. The results indicated that:

  • IBD patients incurred over three-times higher annual costs than non-IBD patients
  • IBD patients absorb more than twice the annual out-of-pocket costs than non-IBD patients
  • Annual costs of IBD were substantially higher in the year of the initial diagnosis 
  • The biggest drivers of costs are therapeutics (biologics, opioids, and steroids), comorbidities (anemia and psychiatric illness), and emergency room visits

“To truly understand the financial impact of IBD, we commissioned a study to look at the drivers of cost of care for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis,” said Michael Osso, President & CEO of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. “The results of this study confirm what we suspected – having IBD places an enormous financial burden on patients and their families. We must work together as a community to tackle the costs to ensure that patients have access to the treatments they need, when they need it.”  

The study also found that children with IBD and IBD patients older than 65 have up to 46% higher cost burden than IBD patients age 35-44. Additionally, IBD patients are estimated to have three times more work-related lost wages than non-IBD patients. 

“While we have made great progress in the medical management of IBD, our patients and their families face great challenges in handling the financial burdens of chronic illness,” said Dr. David Rubin, a co-author of the paper and chair-elect of the Foundation’s National Scientific Advisory Committee. “This cost analysis by the Foundation and our colleagues identifies the substantial direct costs of care in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and is a mandate for us to step up our work with all stakeholders to address these challenges and to more effectively manage the cost drivers that can improve health outcomes and reduce costs.”

The study analyzed claims data generated by more than 50,000 IBD patients over a 10-year period. The goals of the study were to describe the annual direct and indirect costs of care for IBD patients, describe the drivers of cost after diagnosis, and characterize the costs for newly diagnosed patients. Funding for this initiative was made possible by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and United Health Group.

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation will be using findings from the Cost of IBD Initiative to develop additional tools, educational programs, and policy recommendations to address key cost drivers for IBD. Additional papers providing greater details on specific topics, such as psychosocial issues and treatments, will also be published.


Crohn's & Colitis Foundation

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation is a non-profit, volunteer-fueled organization dedicated to finding the cures for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improving the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. It was founded in 1967 by Irwin M. and Suzanne Rosenthal, William D. and Shelby Modell, and Henry D. Janowitz, M.D.