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Top Drivers Of Healthcare Costs Are Back, Diabetes, And Heart Disease

In 2013, a conducted analysis focused on the amount of money spent on 155 health conditions. Surprisingly, results of this study showed that only 20 problems were accommodated by total money spent on health conditions.

Among these conditions, diabetes topped the list, with $101 billion spent in total for diagnoses and treatments. Cost for addressing this condition is also 36 times as fast as that of ischemic heart disease, which is the primary cause of death among individuals in the past 18 years. Diabetes and ischemic heart disease are common in people 65 years and older. On the other hand, low back and neck pain are third-most expensive health conditions, and they are more commonly diagnosed in working class.

The top three most expensive health conditions, as well as hypertension and injuries from fall, account for 18% of total cost, which is $347 billion in 2013, spent for personal health.

The study was aimed at differentiating public health programs and personal health spending, which cover individual payment and those that are paid by private and government insurance programs. The study focused on 155 conditions.

US allocates large budget for health care purposes. However, there is little information regarding the diseases that affect amount of money spent. According to Dr. Joseph Dieleman, lead author of the mentioned study and Assistant Professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at University of Washington, he and his team are gathering more information to provide people with better understand of money spent on health care and help all sectors involved to plan and distribute their resources more effectively.

Based on the $2.1 trillion spent on 155 health conditions covered by the study, Dr. Dieleman claims that around $300 million of total cost was unaccounted for. As result, total money spent on health care possibly reached $2.4 trillion in 2013.

Some of the most expensive studies indicated in the study are the following: musculoskeletal disorders, such as tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis; dental visits; pregnancy and postpartum care.

The indicated study spanned 18 years and covered $30.1 trillion personal health care expenses from 1996–2013. Most of diseases included are non-communicable, though some infectious diseases were noted. The top infectious category was respiratory infections, which include bronchitis and pneumonia.

The paper also provided some remarkable findings, which are as follows;

  • In 2013, people who spent the most were women ages 85 and older, and cost is around $31,000. Around 58% of total expenses covered nursing facilities, while the remaining 40% was spent on various conditions, including, heart diseases, Alzheimer’s diseases, and falls.

  • Men with ages 85 and older expended around $24,000 for health care cost in 2013. An estimated 37% of this total expenses is spent on nursing facilities. The lower cost spent on nursing facilities can be attributed to longer life span of women than men.

  • As for the total personal health care costs, only less than 10% is spend on nursing care facilities. Meanwhile, a small percentage (5%) accounts for emergency department care. Highest expenditure spend on health care facilities are determined by onsets of Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. On the other hand, falls is top condition leading to highest expenditure in emergency departments.

  • A total of $77.9 billion was spent on public health education and advocacy initiatives, including awareness campaigns for anti-tobacco and cancer. This amount accounted for less than 3% of total health spending.

  • Well-care comprises care activities that are not related to diagnosis and treatment of diseases or injuries, and this category was only covered by 6% of expenses for personal health care. Under this category, 1/3 was estimated to be spent on pregnancy and postpartum care; this portion accounts for 10th largest spending category.

With the information provided by the study, various people, including insurers, health policy experts, physicians, and government leaders gain deeper insights into how health care services can be given to people in a more effective and efficient manner. Moreover, they are given the chance to make impact on the future, both through short- and long-term planning and strategizing.

The following consists list of top 10 most costly health expenses in 2013:

  1. Diabetes ($101.4 billion)

  2. Ischemic heart disease ($88.1 billion)

  3. Low back and neck pain ($87.6 billion)

  4. Hypertension ($83.9 billion)

  5. Injuries from falls ($76.3 billion)

  6. Depressive disorders ($71.1 billion)

  7. Oral-related problems ($66.4 billion)

  8. Vision and hearing problems ($59 billion)

  9. Skin-related problems, including cellulitis and acne ($55.7 billion)

  10. Pregnancy and postpartum care ($55.6 billion)

One of the b est ways to keep healthcare expenses low over a life time is to live a healthy lifestyle.  This would require the a healthy diet and exercise.  Other important things that are crucial are sleep, drinking enough water on a daily basis, low stress and getting enough fruits and vegetables.

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