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Monday, September 30, 2013

Poor asthma control nearly doubles cost

The following was originally published at on 11/8/11.

Poorly controlled asthma makes treatment more expensive. In fact, a recent study concluded that poorly controlled asthma nearly doubles the cost.

This is according to a study spearheaded by the asthma experts at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado and reported on by

It's actually common sense if you think about it. Asthma controller medicines and doctor visits are expensive.
For example, Advair can costs as much as $190 if you don't have insurance. Even with insurance the copay can be as high as $50. Singulair costs $1 for each pill with health insurance. Being that each prescription is only good for about a month, you can see that just the price of maintenance is quite costly. Yet the costs of paying for unscheduled office visits, frequent ER visits, hospital admissions, school and work days missed can can cost twice as much.

Plus uncontrolled asthma increases the risk of developing severe asthma, anxiety and a host of other complications. These consequences of poorly controlled asthma add even more to the asthma price tag.

The study of 628 children aged 6-12 with severe or hardluck asthma concluded that asthmatic children with hardluck asthma incurred an average bill of $7,846 and those with well-controlled asthma incurred a cost of about $3,766. Asthmatics kids with well-controlled asthma incurred bills averaging $3,766.

Two years later those with hardluck asthma incurred bills averaging $8,000 and those with well controlled asthma incurred bills averaging $1,861 (costs are in 2002 dollars, and costs in 2011 would be about 25 percent higher).

With all the great asthma medicines on the market today one might wonder why any asthmatic would have poorly controlled asthma. Yet given the economic environment, some people simply cannot afford their asthma controller medications.

We might call these asthmatics our unfortunate asthmatics. These folks have no health insurance and cannot affording the high cost of asthma controller medications like Advair and Singulair.

So we can easily understand how those living paycheck to paycheck choose not to buy asthma controller medications, and choose not to pay for a doctor visit. It's unfortunate, yet it happens.

Another handful of poorly controlled asthmatics are your goofus asthmatics, like Joe Goofus. Joe is lazy and chooses fun over taking care of his asthma.

Yes it's true asthma controller medications are expensive. Yet now we know well controlled asthma comes at a 50 percent discount compared to poorly controlled asthma.

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