Medicare payments for glaucoma care per person declined between 2002 and 2009
The annual per-patient cost of glaucoma care among Medicare beneficiaries decreased in constant dollars between 2002 and 2009, according to a study.
However, cataract and retina eye care for patients with glaucoma outstripped the cost of glaucoma care, the study authors said.
Investigators used data from a 5% random sample of Medicare billing information from 2002 to 2009. Data included elderly patients older than 65 years with Medicare Parts A and B coverage who underwent glaucoma care. Claims were categorized as glaucoma, other eye care or other medical care.
Medicare fee-for-service glaucoma care costs in 2009 dollars were stable from 2002 to 2009. The per-patient, per-year cost in 2009 dollars decreased from $242 to $228.
Office visits accounted for 49% of all Medicare payments for open-angle glaucoma (OAG) diagnosis and care. Patients with OAG had a mean 2.4 visits per year. Diagnostic testing accounted for 31% of all Medicare payments for patients with OAG. Surgery accounted for 12% of payments for patients with OAG.
Less than 3% of patients with OAG underwent incisional surgery and about 5% underwent laser trabeculoplasty in 2009.
The total cost of non-glaucoma eye care was 67% higher than that of glaucoma care. Non-glaucoma costs mainly comprised cataract surgery and treatment of retinal disease.
Disclosure: The study authors have no relevant financial disclosures.