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5% of Patients Account for Half of Health Care Spending

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USA TODAY reports that 22 % of healthcare spending is from less than 1% of patients.(2009).

That’s about $90,000 per person, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. U.S. residents spent $1.26 trillion that year on health care.

Five percent accounted for 50% of health care costs, about $36,000 each, the report said.

Why is this number so important? According to AHRQ the report showed how a tiny segment of the population can drive health care spending and that efforts to control cost should focus on this segment to improve efficiency using new technology, outcome studies,

About one in five health care consumers remained in the top 1% of spenders for at least two consecutive years, the report showed. They tended to be white, non-Hispanic women in poor health; the elderly; and users of publicly funded health care.

•Sixty percent were women

•Forty percent were 65 or older.

•Only 3% were ages 18 to 29.

•Eighty percent were white.

•Only 2% were Asian.

The  found that Hispanics, 16% of the population in 2009, spent less on health care. Twenty-five percent of Hispanics were in the bottom half of health care spenders, the report showed, while only 7% of Hispanics were in the top 10% of spenders.

Next, Cohen plans to look at whether cost-cutting measures make a difference. Beginning in October 2012, the government has told hospitals with Medicare patients that it will no longer pay for patients who are readmitted to hospitals for the same condition soon after being released. Cohen said he’ll look at whether that will change the spending averages for people in the top health care cost brackets.

Another way of stating this is, “unmarried women” (uninsured) (or Medicaid)  and  old people on Medicare

 

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