This study compared Taiwanese public health insurance outpatient reimbursements for interstitial cystitis (IC)/bladder pain syndrome (BPS) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment.Methods
This observational study used data from the Taiwan Longitudinal Health Insurance Database between 2002 and 2013. Patients with International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification codes for IC/BPS and RA were selected and matched in a ratio of 1 : 5 based on index year. After adjustment for possible confounders, including age, sex, income, hospital levels of care, and reimbursements for 24 comorbidities, yearly and per-visit pharmacy, non-pharmacy, and total claims were determined.Results
In all, 1438 IC/BPS and 7190 RA patients were identified in the database. IC/BPS patients were significantly younger, and the proportion of females in this group was higher. Income levels were lower in the IC/BPS cohort, but not significantly. There were no significant differences between cohorts in terms of reimbursements for treatment for comorbidities, with the exception of end-stage renal disease, for which reimbursement was higher in the RA cohort. After adjusting for confounders, the regression coefficient for IC/BPS to RA was significantly lower for yearly total pharmacy claims, yearly total claims, per-visit pharmacy claims, and total claims per visit.Conclusions
Outpatient reimbursement was significantly lower for IC/BPS than for RA treatment, primarily with regard to pharmacy costs. This indicates less medical utilization for IC/BPS, possibly due to poor treatment outcomes and copayment polices. Further advances in the treatment of IC/BPS and health budget reallocation are encouraged.