An estimated 12.1 million women age 18 and older reported suffering from chronic pain in 2008 as a result of underlying medical conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, fibromyalgia and vulvodynia. Of these women, only 8.7 million reported receiving treatment that year at a total cost of $12.9 billion, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Among other findings:
• About 11.2 percent of non-Hispanic white women, 8.3 percent of non-Hispanic black women and 8.2 percent of Hispanic women had one or more of these chronic pain conditions; 8.4 percent, 5.4 percent and 5.5 percent received treatment for them, respectively.
• Of the $12.9 billion in total expenditures, nearly half ($5.7 billion) was spent for treatment in ambulatory settings such as a doctor's office and another $2.4 billion was spent on prescription medicines.
• Among women age 18 to 64, nearly 15 percent of their medical expenses was paid out of pocket while private insurance paid 68 percent; Medicaid, 10 percent; Medicare, 3 percent; and other sources, 4 percent.
The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid. For more information, go to Statistical Brief #342: Health Care Use and Expenditures for Pain Conditions among Women 18 and Older, U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population, 2008 (http://www.meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/data_files/publications/st342/stat342.pdf).