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Doing the math: the concentration of health expenditures in the U.S. population

Some interesting facts to ponder:

  • Health expenditures in 2009 totaled $1.26 trillion.
  • When ranked by expenditures, 1 percent of the U.S. community population accounted for almost 22 percent of these health expenditures, with an average layout of just over $90,000.
  • The top 5 percent of the U.S. community population accounted for close to half of all health expenditures
  • The bottom half of the population accounted for only 2.9 percent of health expenditures

The study, released earlier this month by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (www.ahrq.gov), provides additional analyses by age, gender, and ethnic background, as well as some comparison to expenditures data for 2008.  The data come from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (see http://meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/ for more information on MEPS).


Source: Cohen, Steven B., and Yu, William.  The concentration and persistence in the level of health expenditures over time: estimates for the U.S. population, 2008-2009.  Statistical Brief.  (354):1-9, January 2012.    http://meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/data_files/publications/st354/stat354.pdf

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