Cost of hospitalization highest among the non-elderly

Research Activities, January 2012, No. 377

The average cost of a hospital stay grew more quickly for patients age 64 and younger than it did for the elderly between 1997 and 2009, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

According to data from the Federal agency, the cost of a stay in a community hospital during this period increased by 4 percent per year for patients 64 and younger, and by 3 percent per year for those 65 and older. AHRQ also found that:

  • A total of $208 billion was spent for hospital stays for patients age 64 and younger in 2009, compared with $154 billion for older patients.
  • Between 1997 and 2009, the average hospital stay remained constant at 4 days for patients age 64 and younger, yet the average stay among older patients decreased from 6 days to 5 days.
  • Among all patients, septicemia, back problems, and osteoarthritis were the three conditions that had the greatest increase in hospital costs.

This AHRQ News and Numbers summary is based on data from Statistical Brief #123: Components of Growth in Inpatient Hospital Costs, 1997-2009 (http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb123.jsp). The report uses data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample. For information about this AHRQ database, go to Databases and Related Tools from HCUP: Fact Sheet .

For additional information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Linwood Norman at linwood.norman@ahrq.hhs.gov or call (301) 427-1248.

Current as of January 2012
Internet Citation: Cost of hospitalization highest among the non-elderly: Research Activities, January 2012, No. 377. January 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/jan12/0112RA26.html