Hey Big Spender. 1% of US Citizens Incur 20% of All Health Cost

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Posted 1/16/12 on Health Populi

Cue up the song “Hey Big Spender” from the Broadway hit, Sweet Charity, when you read the January 2012 AHRQ report with the long-winded title, The Concentration and Persistence in the Level of Health Expenditures over Time: Estimates for the U.S. Population, 2008-2009.”

The report’s headline is that 1% of the U.S. population consumed 20% of all health costs spent in the U.S. in 2008 and 2009, illustrated by the chart. These Big Health Spenders tend to be in poor or fair health, older, female, non-Hispanic whites and people with only publicly-provided health insurance. Their mean expenditure was $90,061.

The top 10% of U.S. health citizens accounts for nearly two-thirds of health spending in the U.S., with a mean expenditure of $23,992.

Continue reading “Hey Big Spender. 1% of US Citizens Incur 20% of All Health Cost”

Headline USA Today: 5% of Patients Account For Half of Health Spending

Tom Emerick

Posted 1/16/11 on Cracking Health Costs

Kudos to USA Today which just ran a story on outliers. Click here to read full story.

Readers of Cracking Health Costs will be  encouraged to see that the popular media is getting the picture right on who is driving health spending.

Citing a report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, “The report’s findings can be used to predict which consumers are most likely to drive up health care costs and determine the best ways to save money, said Steven Cohen, the report’s lead author.” 

As the quote says, benefit executives can indeed find the major spenders and manage them better.  The first thing to do for the 5% outliers who spend half the health care dollars is to make sure they have the correct diagnoses and treatment plans.  It’s time to get started.