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High Cost Patients in the US Population

By June 6, 2023Commentary

I posted on high cost patients in the commercial population.  Now comes a regular report for the Agency for Health Care Quality and Research on the same topic, but in the entire US population.  The new Statistical Brief is based on data from 2020, so reflects the first year of the epidemic.  As seen in past reports, the top 1% of the population, as ranked by spending, accounts for 24% of all health spending, and the top 5% for over 52%.  At the other end of the scale, 15% of the population had no health spending, and the bottom 50% in spending represented only 3% of total spending.  The average annual spend for the top 1% was about $152,000.  For the bottom 50%, the average annual spend was a little over $1100.  As you would expect, those over 65 are disproportionately in the high spending category.  Concentration of spending has increased slightly in recent years.  Chronic diseases with frequent acute episodes tend to drive high spending, such as for hypertension, heart disease, dementias, mental illness and others.  (AHRQ Report) 


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