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Our research objective was to calculate and forecast the monthly increase in medical and prescription costs for Medicaid patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and compare these values with costs for non-AIDS patients. A retrospective analysis of AIDS patients and a control group of Georgia Medicaid beneficiaries was conducted between January 1, 1988, and December 31, 1991. AIDS patients were defined using the Keyes algorithm of combinations of International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification codes. The AIDS patient group was matched demographically to a group of non-AIDS patients. Data were adjusted to account for eligibility status, and the ratio of AIDS costs to non-AIDS costs was modeled with an econometric time series procedure. A total of 1966 AIDS patients were identified from 900,000 Medicaid recipients in the study period; 58.0% were male and 59.8% were black. Age was bimodal at ≤1 year and 33 years. The best fit for the medical cost ratios produced a significant regression coefficient of .37. The initial ratio of AIDS to non-AIDS forecast was 4.25 in January 1992. The January 2000 forecast of this ratio increased to 42.56. This increase equates to an additional $8510.19 per AIDS patient-month for January 2000 in 1991 dollars. The outpatient prescription ratio for AIDS versus non-AIDS patients was not predictable. However, the greatest observed discrepancies were attributed to the expense for antihemophilia products. Overall, the most important finding was the accelerating medical costs or treating AIDS patients compared with costs for treating non-AIDS patients. These results may, in part, reflect additional costs for treating intravenous drug users and pediatric AIDS patients.
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