Costs – Direct, Indirect and Intangible

Why do we want to reduce the incidence of the NHPAs?  Because they cost us something in some way.  These costs are both to the individual suffering the disease, and the rest of the community.  We group all costs into three groups: direct, indirect and intangible.  You will have to be able to explain how each NHPA creates a direct, indirect and intangible cost to both individuals and the community.


Direct costs are the monetary costs directly related to prevention, treatment and diagnosis of the disease.  They’re fees from services such as medical professionals, surgery, hospital stays, diagnostic tests like x-rays, ambulances, and medications.  Generally, the individual pays some of these fees, but the community also pays for part of it through tax-funded Medicare and PBS.


Indirect costs are also monetary costs, however they are not directly related to treating the disease.  They’re about money loss due to being ill, especially as they may be too sick to work, and include:

– for the individual:

  • loss of income
  • employing someone to complete household tasks
  • travel costs related to treatment, such as taxi visits to the doctor

– for the community:

  • loss of productivity in the workplace
  • Centrelink social security payments
  • less taxation revenue
  • people caring for the ill without being paid


Intangible costs are social, emotional and human costs; they’re not related to money, and aren’t measurable.  They’re about the pain, grief and stress related to being ill or seeing a loved one ill.  They involve the loss of quality of life, participation in social events, and self esteem.