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Cardiovascular Disease

What Are the Direct and Indirect Costs of Cardiovascular Disease?

June 14, 2023

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of death in the U.S.. While there are a lot of direct costs associated with CVD, there are indirect costs that come along with it as well.

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Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide, with millions of people affected every year. Around 85% of the deaths associated with CVD are due to heart attacks and strokes. CVD, sometimes referred to as heart disease, comprises a group of conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. It is often linked to various problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.

There are also several direct and indirect costs of cardiovascular disease, which can add up and make it a truly devastating disease. Together, the direct and indirect costs of CVD totaled $407.3 billion between 2019 and 2019. Understanding these costs of CVD can help individuals make improved decisions when it comes to preventing, managing and treating the disease.

Continue reading to learn more about the impact of these costs.

Direct Medical Costs

The direct medical costs of cardiovascular disease are the expenses that your healthcare provider bills you for directly. These costs include the cost of medical services and supplies such as hospital care, outpatient services and lab tests. Other direct medical costs include:

  • Medications: Prescription medications are a significant expense for patients. The cost of medications can be especially high for people with chronic conditions, as they often require daily doses or regular refills. To help offset these costs, many people have prescription drug coverage through their health insurance plans.
  • Visits: People with CVD may have multiple visits to the hospital and pharmacy, which can add up quickly. In addition, patients with chronic conditions will likely have regular doctor’s visits and follow-up appointments to monitor their progress or to adjust medications or treatments.
  • Tests: Test costs can range from a few dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the type and complexity of the test. While some tests are just a one-time cost, others may require multiple follow-up tests over time. These tests may include laboratory tests and imaging studies.
  • Surgery: Surgery is the most expensive direct medical cost of cardiovascular disease. Surgery can be a one-time cost or a recurring cost, depending on whether an individual has heart valve replacement surgery once or twice in their life.
  • Consultations: Consultation costs are the direct costs of consulting a healthcare professional. These include fees for doctors, nurses and pharmacists as well as other medical professionals such as physiotherapists and dieticians.

Direct Non-medical Costs

Direct non-medical costs are the costs associated with the treatment of the disease that do not involve healthcare services. Non-medical costs include transportation and household expenses related to treatment, as well as housekeeping and social services. Direct non-medical costs include the following:

  • Transportation: Transportation to medical appointments can be costly depending on where an individual lives and how far away their doctor's office is from their home. For example, if you live in a rural area and need to drive 30 minutes or more each way for a checkup or test, the time and cost of transportation could increase the total cost of treatment significantly.
  • Relocation costs: Some people may need to relocate for better access to healthcare services (such as moving closer to a hospital). These costs may include paying rent and other relocation expenses.
  • Social services: Individuals with CVD may require assistance with daily activities such as cooking, cleaning and transportation, which can result in increased costs for home health care, personal care aids or transportation services.

Indirect Costs

The indirect costs of CVD are the costs that are not directly related to medical treatment or hospitalization. These costs are often more abstract and less tangible compared to direct costs. They may not have a clear monetary value but can have a significant impact on individuals and society as a whole. Indirect costs include:

  • Loss of productivity: CVD can cause a loss of productivity, rendering a person unable to work. A loss of productivity may occur while recovering from surgery and being unable to perform certain tasks at work due to illness such as lifting heavy objects.
  • Reduced quality of life: CVD can cause physical limitations, leading to reduced mobility and decreased ability to perform daily activities. The disease can also cause emotional distress, which can lead to reduced quality of life and may interfere with an individual's ability to work, engage in social activities or enjoy hobbies and interests.
  • Increased burden on caregiver: A caregiver of someone with severe CVD may experience physical, emotional or financial stress while providing care. Caregivers of individuals with CVD may need to assist with daily activities, such as managing medications and providing support.
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Saving on the Direct and Indirect Costs of Cardiovascular Disease

If you or a loved one is affected by CVD, it can be hard to put a price on the cost of the illness as a whole. Not only are there direct costs such as medical bills and travel expenses, but there are indirect costs as well, including time off work and reduced quality of life. When managing cardiovascular disease, it is useful to keep these costs in mind.

You may be able to save on the direct and indirect costs of cardiovascular disease in different ways. When it comes to saving on the cost of medications, you can use a prescription discount card. A prescription discount card from Inside Rx can save you up to 80% on your medications and is accepted at nearly 60,000 pharmacies nationwide.