Health Expenditures and Characteristics of High Spenders
MEPS Statistical Brief # 521
In 2016, spending on healthcare accounted for 17.9 percent of the United States, yet the majority of this spending was concentrated in a relatively small percentage of the population.
Concentration of Health Expenditures and Selected Characteristics of High Spenders, a statistical brief from AHRQ’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey-Household Component, describes the overall concentration of healthcare expenses across the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population.
- In 2016, the top 1 percent of persons ranked by their healthcare expenditures accounted for about 22 percent of total healthcare expenditures, while the bottom 50 percent accounted for only about 3 percent.
- Persons ages 65 and older and whites were disproportionately represented in the top spending tiers.
- Inpatient hospital care accounted for 40 percent of spending for persons in the top 5 percent of the spending distribution.
- About three-quarters of aggregate expenses for persons in the top 5 percent of spenders were paid for by private insurance and Medicare, with about equal proportions paid by each of the two insurance types.
Page originally created February 2019