Why some diseases are more expensive to treat than others

KYW Staff
October 09, 2019 - 4:00 am
Healthcare costs.

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KYW Newsradio’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. 

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Surgery and medications are not always the most expensive part of treating a disease. Usually, a combination of how many people the disease impacts and how complicated the problem is to manage raises the costs. 

You might think that heart disease or cancer costs the most, but in actuality, the most expensive condition to treat is dementia, which costs the healthcare system somewhere between $157 billion to $215 billion each year. 

Researchers estimate that most of the costs are not from medication or treatment; rather, about 80 percent of these costs are due to nursing home care or home care. And due to our aging population, the costs of dementia could double by 2040 if disease treatment does not improve.