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The Concentration of Health Care Spending

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July 2012

Spending for health care in the U.S. is highly concentrated among a small subset of Americans. Just 5 percent of the population accounted for nearly half of all health care spending in 2009. Understanding these high-spenders is vital for developing strategies to reduce overall spending growth. In this data brief you will learn more about:

  • the characteristics and health conditions of the highest spenders,
  • the persistence of high spending patterns over time,
  • the challenges in targeting the most expensive cases for better care management, and
  • the implications of concentrated spending for risk-based payment and insurance market reforms.

This is the third in a series of NIHCM data briefs on U.S. health care spending.

Chart images:

Please feel free to use the charts from this brief with attribution to NIHCM Foundation in your slide presentations, blog posts, reports, etc. Click on the images below to download the full-scale .png files.

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