Embargoed Until:
February 24, 2009
12:01 a.m. Eastern Time



Christopher Fleming

Study Offers Annual Estimates Of Health Spending By Medical Condition

Researchers Find Mental Disorders, Heart Conditions To Be Most Costly

Bethesda, MD -- A study published today on the Health Affairs Web site provides annual estimates of national personal health spending by medical condition. Combining data from several sources, Charles Roehrig, a vice president at the Altarum Institute in Ann Arbor, and coauthors looked at 32 selected conditions within 13 all-inclusive diagnostic categories for 1996-2005. http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/abstract/hlthaff.28.2.w358

Circulatory system spending was highest among the diagnostic categories, accounting for 17 percent of personal health spending in 2005 and reaching $253.9 billion. Nearly half of circulatory system spending is attributable to heart conditions, which consist primarily of coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure (CHF), and dysrhythmias, the researchers say.

The most costly conditions were mental disorders -- such as anxiety, depression, and dementia -- and heart conditions. Spending for mental health disorders reached $142.2 billion in 2005 and accounted for 9 percent of personal health spending. Spending for heart-related conditions accounted for 8 percent of personal health spending ($123 billion in 2005). Spending growth rates were lowest for lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, coronary heart disease, and stroke, report Roehrig and coauthors George Miller of Altarum, Craig Lake of the Arbor Research Collaborative for Health in Ann Arbor, and Jenny Bryant of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

After the embargo lifts, the article by Roehrig and coauthors will be available at http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/abstract/hlthaff.28.2.w358


Health Affairs, published by Project HOPE, is the leading journal of health policy. The peer-reviewed journal appears bimonthly in print with additional online-only papers published weekly as Health Affairs Web Exclusives at www.healthaffairs.org. The full text of each Health Affairs Web Exclusive is available free of charge to all Web site visitors for a two-week period following posting, after which it will switch to pay-per-view for nonsubscribers. Web Exclusives are supported in part by a grant from the Commonwealth Fund.


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