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Trends in Children’s Health Care Costs and Utilization

This report is the first of its kind to look at medical cost and utilization trends for some 41.4 million children [aged 18 and under] covered by major employee-sponsored group health plans. The analysis excludes uninsured children and those kids covered by individually-purchased health plans, Medicaid, CHIP, and other public insurance plans.

Here are some findings from the report:

  • Spending on pediatric health care by employer-sponsored health insurance reached nearly $88 billion in 2010.
  • Health expenditures for children with employee-sponsored insurance coverage rose faster than any other age group. Per capita costs rose nearly 19% from 2007-2010, reaching $2123 in 2010.
  • Family out-of-pocket spending per insured child was $371 in 2010, an increase of 7% over the previous year.
  • Children’s health expenditures were distributed among these major categories in 2010: professional procedures 40.3%; outpatient 28.9%; prescription drug 22.2%; and hospital inpatient 13.6%.
  • Rising prices accounted for most spending increases.
  • The average emergency room charge for employer insured children was $923 in 2010, a 35% increase from $684 in 2007. While ER use for this group declined during this timeframe, service intensity increased, accounting for about 9% of the overall price growth.

Source: Trends in children’s health care costs and utilization, 2007-2010. Health Care Cost Institute, July 2012. http://www.healthcostinstitute.org/childrensreport

Posted by the AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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