Skip to main content


Study: Costs for unrecognized kidney disease

A new study published by The American Journal of Managed Care shows health care costs associated with unrecognized progression to late-stage kidney disease.

March 2, 2023 | 1-minute read

In February, The American Journal of Managed Care published a new paper on health care costs associated to end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) and late-stage chronic kidney disease (CKD). View the full paper here, or read on to view key findings from the study.

As payers and providers know well, many people with chronic kidney disease are unaware of the disease, resulting in a lack of treatment and subsequent "crashes" into dialysis.* While delayed nephrology care and late intervention increase health costs, most studies on this have focused on patients actively undergoing dialysis, and not those with unrecognized disease.

Using data from 2011–2017 in the Optum Labs Data Warehouse, 2 groups containing patients with and without late-stage CKD or ESKD recognition in the claims data were identified. The study analyzed health care costs for patients with unrecognized progression to late-stage CKD or ESKD immediately before and after late-stage diagnosis and compared them with costs for individuals with late-stage CKD or ESKD who had prior CKD recognition.

The results? Total and CKD-related costs were 26% and 19% higher, respectively, for patients without prior diagnosis compared with those with prior recognition.

These findings highlight potential savings from early disease detection and management. Payers have a unique opportunity to leverage data to screen and monitor patients at high risk for CKD, and to increase awareness among patients and providers about CKD and its progression to catch patients earlier in the disease and start treatment.

Read the full study and learn more about Optum Kidney Solutions.

*CDC. Chronic kidney disease in the United States. March 4, 2021. Updated July 12, 2022. Accessed October 22, 2021.