The risk of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) increases with age and significantly impacts morbidity and mortality in the elderly population. The burden of illness and cost of preventing CAP has not been compared to other serious diseases.
This retrospective analysis used claims data from 2014 to 2015 and compared hospitalizations for CAP, myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, and osteoporotic fractures (OF) in adults aged ≥65 years enrolled in a Medicare Advantage insurance plan. Individuals who had not already been hospitalized for one of these conditions and did not have evidence of long-term care were included in the study. Hospitalizations for each condition were described by length of stay, readmissions, mortality, and total costs. Preventive measures included vaccinations for CAP and medications for MI, stroke, and OF.
A total of 1,949,352 individuals were included in the cohort. In 2015, the rate of CAP-related hospitalizations was the highest at 846.7 per 100,000 person-years compared to 405 for MI, 278.9 for stroke, and 343.9 for OF. Vaccination costs for CAP were $40.2 million including $14.1 million for pneumococcal and $26.1 million for influenza vaccines. The cost of preventive medications for MI and stroke reached over $661 million and OF totaled $169 million.
Although CAP has a higher burden of hospitalization and total costs than MI, stroke, and OF in the elderly population, prevention efforts were disproportionately smaller for CAP. Prioritization of CAP prevention is needed to substantially reduce the burden of CAP.