Top Five Conditions Among Children

MEPS Statistical Brief No. 472

The Top Five Most Costly Conditions Among Children, a statistical brief from the Household Component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, presents data regarding medical expenditures associated with the five most costly conditions for children ages 0–17 in 2012.

The five most costly conditions among children (mental disorders, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, trauma-related disorders, acute bronchitis and upper respiratory infections, and infectious diseases) were determined by totaling and ranking the expenses by condition for all medical care provided in 2012. In 2012, a total of $117.5 billion was spent on care and treatment of children.

Highlights

  • For children under 18 years of age, mental disorders, COPD and asthma, trauma-related disorders, acute bronchitis and upper respiratory infections; and infectious diseases ranked highest in terms of direct medical spending in 2012.
  • The highest total expense ($13.9 billion) was for the treatment of mental disorders.
  • Among the top five most expensive conditions, 12.1 million children received care and treatment for COPD and asthma.
  • The highest average per child expense was for the treatment of mental disorders ($2,195).
  • Two-thirds (64.3 percent) of expenditures for trauma-related disorders were paid by private insurance.
  • Three-fourths (73.0 percent) of expenditures for acute bronchitis and upper respiratory infections were in the form of outpatient and office-based visits.

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Page last reviewed April 2015
Internet Citation: Top Five Conditions Among Children: MEPS Statistical Brief No. 472. April 2015. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/meps2.html