Skip Navigation Archive: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services www.hhs.gov
Archive: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality www.ahrq.gov
Archive print banner

New Data About People Who Are High Users of Health Care

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: https://info.ahrq.gov. Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to www.ahrq.gov for current information.

AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: May 23, 2005

In 2002, just 5 percent of Americans accounted for 49 percent of all health care spending, according to the latest available data from Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

  • Americans with the highest medical bills (the top 5 percent) had more than $11,500 in total annual medical expenses.
  • Americans with the lowest medical bills (the bottom 50 percent) spent less than $664.
  • About one-third of people with the highest medical expenses (the top 5 percent) had out-of-pocket costs that exceeded 10 percent of their family income; almost one-fifth had out-of-pocket costs that exceeded 20 percent of their family income.
  • Not surprisingly, older Americans tended to have higher medical bills. More than one-quarter of Americans with the very highest bills were between the ages of 65 and 79, and another 14 percent were 80 and older.

For a copy of Characteristics of Persons with High Medical Expenditures in the U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population, 2002, visit http://www.meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/data_files/publications/st73/stat73.pdf [PDF Help].


 

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.

 

AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care