2014 Per Person Health Care Spending

By November 18, 2016Commentary

A lot can be gleaned from looking at the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality Statistical Briefs, particularly those that focus on national health spending.  These are based on the medical expenditure panel surveys, so there are limitations as with any survey data, but a lot of work has gone into refining the methodology so they are pretty accurate.  One recent brief focuses on per person spending for the non-institutionalized population in 2014.  (AHRQ Brief)   85% of the population had at least some health spending in 2014.  The average per person expense for this 85% that had some spending was $5531, while the median was $1372.  So to be clear, 57% of the population had health spending from zero dollars to only $1372.   And if you looked only at the under-65 population, the median is even lower, and persons over 65 have Medicare already. And we need national health insurance?

As would be expected, mean expenses for people over 65 were $10,980, double those for persons under 65, at $4430.  76% of the population had at least some ambulatory service expense, only 6.6% had an inpatient service cost, 61% had drug spending and 20% had home health care and other medical expense.  Persons over 65 had much higher use in every category, for example patients over 65 had 16% rate of hospital spending, while only 4.9% of those under 65 did.  For people over 65, those on Medicare only had lower average spending, $9221, compared to the over-65s with Medicare and private insurance at $11,172 and Medicare and other public coverage (Medicaid) at $15,538.  For people under 65, there was not significant variation in average spending by type of insurance coverage, although the under-65 uninsured had average spending of only $3109, compared to $4809 for public coverage (Medicaid) and $4421 for those privately insured.  Next up we will look more at concentration of spending.

Kevin Roche

Author Kevin Roche

The Healthy Skeptic is a website about the health care system, and is written by Kevin Roche, who has many years of experience working in the health industry through Roche Consulting, LLC. Mr. Roche is available to assist health care companies through consulting arrangements and may be reached at khroche@healthy-skeptic.com.

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