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.

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