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What Conditions Account for US Health Spending?

By April 5, 2024Commentary

There are many ways to look at US health spending–by payer type, by provider type and by what conditions it is spent on.  The Bureau of Economic Analysis has focused on the latter, and has some interesting information on the topic.  In its most recent release the BEA notes that routine exams and visits for illness symptoms are the single largest category at about 15% of spending in 2021.  Circulatory conditions like heart disease and hypertension come in second at around 10.4%, followed by musculoskeletal, which includes arthritis, at 9.4%, nervous system, including dementia and multiple sclerosis, at about 7.5% and cancer at 6.7%.  Infectious disease was 9%, but this was influenced by epidemic spending.  Over time the fastest growth has been in “routine” care and musculoskeletal.

The value of looking at spending by condition is to identify trends that can help focus public health interventions and prepare payers and providers to meet increased or decreased needs to treat particular conditions.  Many private payers have extensive data analytics efforts that help them do this kind of tracking.  Following developments in drug and medical device product pipelines can also help us identify potential jumps in treatment costs for particular conditions in future years.  (BEA Release)

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • rubbertayers says:

    I assume dental must not be considered health care because from everything I’ve seen, people spend more on their teeth than anything else.

    • Kevin Roche says:

      Dental care is one of the fastest growing categories of health care, which the most rapid price rises, in part because so much is paid for out of pocket

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