Chronic Diseases, Out-Of-Pocket Spending Increasing

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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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.

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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).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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