Five percent of the population accounts for fifty percent of healthcare spending

Five percent of the population accounted for fifty percent of healthcare spending in the U.S. in 2009, according to a report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The data for the report was obtained from the Household Component of the Medical Expenditure

Panel Survey (MEPS-HC) for 2008 and 2009.  Key findings from the report: 

  • 1 percent of the population  accounted for 21.8 percent of the total healthcare expenditures, spending an average of $90,061 per person.
  • The top five percent spent an average of $35,829 per person.
  • Those who spent the most on healthcare were more likely to be in fair or poor health, female, non-Hispanic white, and those with public-only coverage.
  • Those who spent the least on healthcare expenditures were more likely to be in excellent health, young adults or children, men, Hispanic, or uninsured. 

(Sources: The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, http://meps.ahrq.gov, January 2012; Kaiser Daily Health Policy Project, http://kaiserhealthnews.org, January 13, 2012)