Five Most Costly Children's Conditions

In 2011, a total of $117.6 billion was spent for children's medical care and treatment. The top five conditions in terms of total health care expenditures were mental disorders, asthma (including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), trauma-related disorders, acute bronchitis and upper respiratory infections, and otitis media.

The Five Most Costly Children's Conditions, a statistical brief from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), presents data regarding medical expenditures associated with the five most costly conditions for children ages 0-17 in 2011. These conditions were determined by totaling and ranking the expenses by condition for all medical care provided in 2011.

Highlights

  • For those under 18 years of age, these five medical conditions—mental disorders, asthma, trauma-related disorders, acute bronchitis and upper respiratory infections, and otitis media—ranked highest in terms of direct medical spending in 2011.
  • Of the five most costly conditions for children, mental disorders affected the fewest children but had the highest average expense per child.
  • Treatment of mental disorders ($13.8 billion) accounted for the highest total expense and acute bronchitis and upper respiratory infection ($3.3 billion), and otitis media ($3.2 billion) accounted for the lowest among the top five most expensive children's conditions in 2011.
  • Nearly half of the expenditures for mental disorders (48.4 percent) and asthma (49.1 percent) in children were paid by Medicaid. 

Select to access The Five Most Costly Children's Conditions.

Current as of April 2014
Internet Citation: Five Most Costly Children's Conditions. April 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/meps1.html