Healthcare spending in the United States for children and youth, 1996-2012
Bui, Anthony Lam
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Objective The objective of this study is to (1) provide estimates of healthcare spending of children and youth in the U.S. from 1996 through 2012 across types of goods and services, age groups, sex groups, and causes of illness and healthcare events; (2) explain changes in healthcare spending among children and youth over time; and (3) estimate average total healthcare spending between birth and age 16. Method Data from the National Health Expenditure Accounts (NHEA) are used to provide total healthcare spending across different categories of goods or services. Microdata are used to estimate the composition of healthcare spending across age groups, sex groups, and causes of illness or healthcare events within each category. Healthcare spending estimates are analyzed across levels and changes. A decomposition method is employed to explain changes in healthcare spending across increases in population, prevalence, utilization, and prices. Estimates are aggregated across cohorts to ascertain healthcare spending over an average child’s childhood. Results From 1996 to 2012 children's healthcare spending increased from $161 billion to $259 billion, the most of which was ambulatory care spending. Per capita (per child) healthcare spending is greatest for under-1-year-olds. The $98 billion increase in spending was mostly due to increases in prices over the time period. Over the course of the prior 16 years, on average, a 16-year-old in 2012 spent $37,454 on healthcare. Conclusion The findings from these analyses will serve as valuable evidence for health policymakers, providers of pediatric services, and families in the planning for children’s health.
- Global health