Impact of Insurance Provider on Overall Costs in Failed Back Surgery Syndrome: A Cost Study of 122,827 Patients.
OBJECTIVES: Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) affects 40% of patients following spine surgery with estimated costs of $20 billion to the US health care system. The aim of this study was to assess the cost differences across the different insurance providers for FBSS patients. METHODS: A retrospective longitudinal study was performed using the Truven MarketScan® database to identify FBSS patients from 2001 to 2012. Patients were grouped into Commercial, Medicaid, or Medicare cohorts. We collected one-year prior to FBSS diagnosis (baseline), then at year of spinal cord stimulation (SCS)-implantation and nine-year post-SCS implantation cost outcomes. RESULTS: We identified 122,827 FBSS patients, with 117,499 patients who did not undergo an SCS-implantation (Commercial: n = 49,075, Medicaid: n = 23,180, Medicare: n = 45,244) and 5328 who did undergo an SCS implantation (Commercial: n = 2279, Medicaid: n = 1003, Medicare: n = 2046). Baseline characteristics were similar between the cohorts, with the Medicare-cohort being significantly older. Over the study period, there were significant differences in overall cost metrics between the cohorts who did not undergo SCS implantation with the Medicaid-cohort had the lowest annual median (interquartile range) total cost (Medicaid: $4530.4 [$1440.6, $11,973.5], Medicare: $7292.0 [$3371.4, $13,989.4], Commercial: $4944.3 [$363.8, $13,294.0], p < 0.0001). However, when comparing the patients who underwent SCS implantation, the commercial-cohort had the lowest annual median (interquartile range) total costs (Medicaid: $4045.6 [$1146.9, $11,533.9], Medicare: $7158.1 [$3160.4, $13,916.6], Commercial: $2098.1 [$0.0, $8919.6], p < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates a significant difference in overall costs between various insurance providers in the management of FBSS, with Medicaid-insured patients having lower overall costs compared to Commercial- and Medicare-patients. SCS is cost-effective across all insurance groups (Commercial > Medicaid > Medicare) beginning at two years and continuing through nine-year follow-up. Further studies are necessary to understand the cost differences between these insurance providers, in hopes of reducing unnecessary health care expenditures for patients with FBSS.
Elsamadicy, AA; Farber, SH; Yang, S; Hussaini, SMQ; Murphy, KR; Sergesketter, A; Suryadevara, CM; Pagadala, P; Parente, B; Xie, J; Lad, SP
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