Migraines – A High Price To Pay

Face it, migraines are not cheap. Recently, there have been studies showing that these chronic and debilitating headaches are costly not only for those that suffer from them, but also for their families and their employers too.

The people that suffer from migraine headaches (sometimes called Migraineurs) experience a huge loss in their quality of life, not to mention the financial burden. Migraine sufferers and their families spend, typically, more than 70 percent more for health care than families blessed not to have a migraineur. Adding insult to injury, migraine sufferers often suffer from lost wages due to the time away from work. It is unfortunate, but when it comes time for a raise or promotion, migraineurs take a hit because of the percieved “unreliability” that results from their condition and attempts to get treatment for their migraines.

Employers don’t escape the expense trap either. According to some estimates US employers spend in excess of twenty-four billion dollars a year for migraine related costs. Absenteesim, short-term disability and workmans comp account for roughly half that amount. If “presenteeism” (loss of productivity while suffering a migraine “on the job”) cost are included the estimates skyrocket.

The largest direct cost of migraines for US employers is outpatient care (~$6.2 billion annually) with prescription drugs a close second at roughly $5.2 billion per year. Inpatient care and emergency costs make up the remaining percentage of the $12.7 billion total.

But that is just the United States slice of the migraine pie. In the United Kingdom alone more than 25 million work or school days were lost last year becuase of migraines. The costs of absenteeism and lost productivity have reached the point that many companies are creating programs to encourage employees suffering from migraines to seek treatment.