Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Patient-centered health spending categories

Written By: Jason Shafrin - Feb• 24•11

Where do we spend our health care dollars?  A paper by Conway et al. in Health Services Research examines this question using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) from 2007.  Typically, statistics break down health expenditures by payer (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance) or setting (e.g., inpatient, outpatient, nursing home). “However, this is not how patients experience care. Patients have a chronic disease, pregnancy, trauma, or some other life event.”

Instead, Conway and co-authors use a “patient-centered” hierarchy to organize health care costs. The chart below gives a breakdown of costs into Conway’s 7 patient-centered categories.


It is clear that chronic conditions make up the greatest share of health spending. This finding is especially true for older individuals. In fact, fifty one percent of health spending for Americans aged 45-64 goes to treat chronic conditions and for seniors 65 and older, this figure rises to 56 percent.
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5 Comments

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Harvard CCPE, jenk72. jenk72 said: Healthcare Economist · Patient-centered health spending categories: Where do we spend our health care dollars. A… http://bit.ly/i5zelp […]

  2. Jared says:

    This article is featured in the March 3rd edition of the Health Wonk Review. Thanks for your submission!

    http://lucidicus.org/editorials.php?nav=20110303a

  3. Ken says:

    Great information! In my blog I touch on the economics and changes in healthcare, and it’s good to see another source of information. I subscribed! :-)

  4. […] can most easily do this in emergency departments because EMTALA forces doctors to treat them. But emergency treatment is a small fraction of total medical spending.  If supporters of mandatory health plans were sincerely concerned about […]

  5. […] proof that lifestyle choices are driving the majority of healthcare expense in the United States? A recent study highlighted by the Healthcare Economist blog looked at data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and broke it down in to […]

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