Are Health Care Costs Keeping You Up at Night?

June 12, 2007 ( - If health care costs are keeping you up at night, you could be making things worse.

Kathleen Foley, PhD, of Thomson Medstat has just conducted a study that suggests that the health-care costs of patients with insomnia are higher than for those without insomnia.

According to the results, unadjusted annual health plan-paid costs for insomnia patients were approximately three times higher ($8,978) compared to controls ($2,790). Further, adjusted health plan-paid inpatient costs were 48-79% higher, outpatient costs 49-74% higher, and prescription costs 69-100% higher for insomnia patients. Unadjusted mental health related costs for patients with insomnia were approximately seven times greater ($461) than those for controls ($64). Out-of-pocket costs for insomnia patients were roughly twice ($1,000) that of the control group ($448).

Foley based this study on a retrospective analysis of health insurance claims data in the United States. Patients were selected if they were diagnosed with insomnia or received a prescription drug for insomnia in 2002 or 2003. A control group of patients was identified during the same study period.

“Even for controlling for associated comorbidities, health plans and patients paid significantly higher health care costs for patients with insomnia compared to patients without insomnia,” said Foley in a press release. The research abstract was to be presented at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

Insomnia Defined

Insomnia is a classification of sleep disorders in which a person has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up too early. These disorders may also be defined by an overall poor quality of sleep. Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. About 30 percent of adults have insomnia. It is more common among elderly people and women. Some medical conditions cause insomnia, or it may be a side effect of a medication.

Experts recommend that adults get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night to maintain good health and optimum performance.