People with rheumatoid arthritis who work incur greater direct and indirect costs related to health, according to study results published in the March 2013 issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. In the study, costs to employers for 2,705 workers with rheumatoid arthritis were compared to about 338,000 workers without rheumatoid arthritis.
For workers with rheumatoid arthritis, the average annual costs were $5,200 more than for workers without the disease. About 90% of the excess costs were for direct health care costs. The workers who had rheumatoid arthritis also averaged 3.5 additional health-related absenses from work per year. Researchers then took the statistics and applied it to the U.S. civilian labor force. Here was the bottom line for the labor force -- workers with rheumatoid arthritis incurred $5.8 billion in additional costs per year ($5.2 billion was due to direct costs) and had 4 million additional lost work days than those without rheumatoid arthritis.
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