Int J Environ Res Public Health 20 (22) - [2023-11-10; online 2023-11-10]
This study aimed to estimate absenteeism costs and identify their predictors in non-hospitalized patients in Sweden. This cross-sectional study's data were derived from the longitudinal project conducted at Uppsala University Hospital. The mean absenteeism costs due to COVID-19 were calculated using the human capital approach, and a Poisson regression analysis was employed to determine predictors of these costs. The findings showed that the average absenteeism cost due to COVID-19 was USD 1907.1, compared to USD 919.4 before the pandemic (p < 0.001). Notably, the average absenteeism cost for females was significantly higher due to COVID-19 compared to before the pandemic (USD 1973.5 vs. USD 756.3, p = 0.001). Patients who had not fully recovered at the 12-month follow-up exhibited significantly higher costs than those without symptoms at that point (USD 3389.7 vs. USD 546.7, p < 0.001). The Poisson regression revealed that several socioeconomic factors, including age, marital status, country of birth, educational level, smoking status, BMI, and occupation, along with COVID-19-related factors such as severity at onset, pandemic wave, persistent symptoms at the follow-up, and newly introduced treatment for depression after the infection, were significant predictors of the absenteeism costs. Our study reveals that the mean absenteeism costs due to COVID-19 doubled compared to the year preceding the pandemic. This information is invaluable for decision-makers and contributes to a better understanding of the economic aspects of COVID-19.