Prevalence of Arthritis and Associated Joint Disorders in an Employed Population and the Associated Healthcare, Sick Leave, Disability, and Workers’ Compensation Benefits Cost and Productivity Loss for Employers

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Abstract

Arthritis is a common condition among the working population in the United States. Despite its high prevalence, the total cost of arthritis from the employer perspective has not been fully evaluated. This study quantifies the employer cost for additional health care, absence, disability, productivity, and workers’ compensation costs related to arthritis and associated joint disorders (AJD) for a large sample of employees over 4 years. Results showed that AJD affected 15.5% of the employee population at some time. After adjusting for confounding factors, employees with AJD had significantly higher costs for health care ($998), prescription drug ($195), absence ($84), short-term disability ($184), long-term disability ($54), and workers’ compensation ($287); totaling $1802. Adjusted productivity output was 4% lower for the AJD group, equal to $7454 in lost revenue (P < .05). Implications for an aging workforce are also discussed.

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