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Nearly two in three publicly insured adults under age 65 suffer from one or more chronic conditions

Research Activities, July 2009, No. 347

Nearly two of every three adult Americans under age 65 who were covered by public insurance from 2005 to 2006 had at least one chronic illness, such as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease, according to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

  • About 57 percent of people with private insurance and 36 percent of the uninsured had one or more chronic ailments.
  • People who had two or more chronic illnesses accounted for 45 percent of the publicly insured, 32 percent of the privately insured, and 17 percent of the uninsured.
  • Health expenditures for treatment of chronic conditions for adults with two or more such conditions averaged $6,455 for people who only had public insurance compared with $1,987 for the uninsured and $3,598 for people with private insurance.
  • However, a publicly insured person with two or more chronic illnesses had lower average annual out-of-pocket expenses than a similar uninsured person ($708 vs. $1,040).
  • Chronic diseases accounted for 57 percent of medical care spending for adults who only had public insurance, 46 percent for the privately insured, and 47 percent for the uninsured.

These data are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency and cost of use, and source(s) of payment. For more information, go to Healthcare Expenses for Chronic Conditions Among Non-Elderly Adults: Variations by Insurance Coverage, 2005-2006 (Average Annual Estimates), Statistical Brief #243, at http://meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/.

Current as of July 2009
Internet Citation: Nearly two in three publicly insured adults under age 65 suffer from one or more chronic conditions: Research Activities, July 2009, No. 347. July 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/jul09/0709RA48.html