Chronic Diseases, Out-Of-Pocket Spending Increasing

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The percentage of U.S. residents who have chronic diseases has increased in recent years, and the trend has led to a large rise in out-of-pocket medical costs, according to a study published on Tuesday in the journal Health Affairs, Reuters/Boston Globe reports.

For the study, Kathryn Paez of Social & Scientific Systems and colleagues examined nationally representative government surveys that included responses from about 32,000 residents in 2005 and about 22,000 residents in 1996.


The study found that in 2005 about 44% of residents had at least one chronic condition -- such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, arthritis, heart failure and others -- compared with 41% in 1996. In addition, the study found in 2005 that 13% of residents had three or more chronic diseases, compared with 7% in 1996. The study also found that average annual out-of-pocket medical costs rose to $741 in 2005 from $427 per resident in 1996, a 39% increase after adjustment for inflation.

According to the study, Medicare beneficiaries who had three or more chronic conditions had average annual out-of-pocket medical costs of $2,588 in 2005 (Dunham, Reuters/Boston Globe, 1/6).

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