The Hidden Costs of Eczema

Eczema - it seems every other person struggles with it. Yet, while it’s a common condition, I really feel for my patients. Most people may assume that they spend a lot just on their treatment, but there’s much more coming out of their pocket than meets the eye.

I often view dealing with eczema as an investment, because you seriously have to up the cost on a lot of things. Eczema patients use the health care system more than those without the condition, according to two population-based studies comprising more than 60,000 people. Compared to an adult without eczema, a patient would:

  • Spend $371-$489 more out-of-pocket
  • Be more likely to lose 6 workdays, and 3-5 half-days
  • Be more likely have at least 6 half-days in bed
  • Use the healthcare system more, including physician visits and urgent/ER visits.

Moreover, I have observed that they need to use more expensive products, in addition to taking extra care to use soaps that are harder to formulate. Even for kids with eczema, parents have to ensure their skin is well-moisturized constantly, and spend much more on skincare products for their child than the average adult.

So next time you chat with a friend or family member with eczema, don’t always dismiss their condition as something that’s ‘common’ or that they’ve ‘always had’. Eczema is a lifelong struggle, both physically and financially, and it would do us good to bear in mind that eczema patients face far more challenges than we know.

Citation: Silverberg J. Health Care Utilization, Patient Costs, and Access to Care in US Adults With Eczema: A Population-Based Study. JAMA Dermatol. 2015. 2015;151(7):743-752.

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