National Inpatient Hospital Costs

HCUP Statistical Brief, No. 204

Health care expenditures have maintained a relatively stable share of the Gross Domestic Product since 2009, reaching 17.5 percent in 2014.  Hospital care expenditures in particular, which constitute the largest single component of health care spending, grew 4.1 percent in 2014.  Although this is up from 3.5 percent in 2013, annual hospital care expenditure growth averaged 5.5 percent from 2008 through 2012.  Policymakers are among those concerned with the burden of medical care expenses to governments, consumers, and insurers. Although only 7.2 percent of the U.S. population had a hospital inpatient stay in 2012, the mean expense per stay associated with those hospitalizations was more than $18,000, making hospitalization one of the most expensive types of health care treatment.

National Inpatient Hospital Costs: The Most Expensive Conditions by Payer, a statistical brief from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, presents data on costs of hospital inpatient stays in the United States in 2013. It describes the distribution of costs by expected primary payer and illustrates the conditions accounting for the largest percentage of each payer's hospital costs. The primary payers examined are Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, and uninsured. The hospital costs represent the hospital's costs to produce the services, not the amount paid for services by payers, and they do not include the physician fees associated with the hospitalization.


  • In 2013, aggregate hospital costs for 35.6 million hospital stays totaled $381.4 billion.
  • The five most expensive conditions—septicemia, osteoarthritis, liveborn (newborn) infants, complication of device, implant or graft, and acute myocardial infarction—accounted for approximately one-fifth of the total aggregate costs for hospitalizations. The top 20 conditions accounted for nearly half of aggregate hospital costs.
  • The primary payer shares of aggregate hospital costs were 63 percent for Medicare and Medicaid, 28 percent for private insurance, and 5 percent for uninsured hospitalizations.
  • Septicemia ranked among the four most costly conditions in the hospital for all four payer groups.
  • Hospitalizations associated with pregnancy and childbirth accounted for 5 of the 20 most expensive conditions for hospital stays covered by Medicaid.
  • Mood disorders was a top-ranked condition for stays covered by Medicaid and private insurance, and for uninsured stays.

Select to access National Inpatient Hospital Costs: The Most Expensive Conditions by Payer.

Page last reviewed June 2016
Internet Citation: National Inpatient Hospital Costs. June 2016. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.