Cost of living with Cystic Fibrosis in Australia: An overview of the out of pocket medical expenses that Australians are paying each year.

Cost of living with Cystic Fibrosis in Australia: An overview of the out of pocket medical expenses that Australians are paying each year.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that can significantly shorten the life span of individuals unless they are given timely medical intervention. It is a progressive condition that can easily impact multiple organ systems and lead to overall deteriorating health. With the progression of the disease, patients need more intensive health care, and for many treatment includes lung transplantation.

Management of cystic fibrosis and its related symptoms can vary for different patients based on their age. Statistics state that the mean annual cost linked with managing cystic fibrosis is $22,336 while the median cost comes to $8,738. 25% of patients face expenses less than $3206 every year while another 25% of patients face costs amounting to $30,092 every year. However, the huge discrepancies in these figures may arise from the fact that a relatively small percentage of individuals with cystic fibrosis use a very high quota of healthcare resources thus impacting mean costs.

For many cystic fibrosis patients average healthcare costs start going down after the age of 2 but will start to rise once again when individuals approach their thirties.

Annual health costs up to the age of 2 can be estimated at$12,210 for mean costs while the median costs amount to $4,783. After that costs tend to fluctuate until the individual reaches their teens after which annual health costs start to experience an increase and go on increasing until the average life expectancy for cystic fibrosis patients is reached at the age of 38. Estimated at age 38 or above the annual healthcare mean costs for patients is established at $31,224 while medina costs for the same are established at $23,689.

Another factor that impacts the costs incurred is the severity of the disease. In this case, both the mean as well as the median expenses incurred will hike as the condition progresses. Patients who advance from severity category 1 into 2 will experience a substantial increase in the mean as well as median healthcare costs. For patients in this category expenses can be expected to jump by $20,000; mean costs for severity category 1 can escalate from $14,545 to $37,023 in severity category 2 while median costs for the same can go up from $6,107 to $26,271 when the disease reaches severity category 2.

By the time the disease reaches severity category 3, annual mean costs can amount to $48,745 while median costs can average $36,936. Upon reaching severity category 4 mean annual healthcare costs for patients will sit at $55,293 and median yearly costs at $33,172. The final median figure is lower than severity category 3 for patients who have received a transplant.

The bulk of these expenses are taken up by hospitalisations for patients suffering from mild disease to others who have undergone a transplant. The second biggest expense is claimed by medication costs followed by other expenses incurred on medical services, diagnostic tests and complications associated with the disease. As the condition advances for patients, the dependence on inpatient care will also increase steadily.


1. Cystic Fibrosis research:

2. PM urged to subsidise miracle cystic fibrosis medicine Kalydeco:

3. Understanding the costs of care for cystic fibrosis: an analysis by age and health state: