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New MEPS chartbook now available from AHRQ

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has published a new chartbook that shows health care spending for the civilian noninstitutionalized (community) population in 1999. It presents data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). Various sections of the report deal with national expenses by amount, type of service, and source of payment. Information is provided on elderly and non-elderly people living in the community, two groups that have quite different expenses; average expenses for subgroups according to age, insurance, income, and race/ethnicity; and the extent to which selected populations rely on different sources to pay for their health care.

According to the chartbook, overall health care expenses for the U.S. community population totaled $596 billion in 1999. Eighty-four percent of the community population had expenses, with a mean expense for these people of $2,557. Half of the community population (including the 16 percent who had no health care expenses) had expenses of $450 or less. Five percent of the community population accounted for slightly more than half of the population's total health expenses. Conversely, the bottom 50 percent accounted for only 3 percent of expenses.

Copies of the new publication, MEPS Chartbook. No. 11: Health Care Expenses in the Community Population, 1999 (AHRQ Publication No. 03-0038), are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

In addition to the chartbook, AHRQ has released new MEPS data files, statistical briefs, and other MEPS materials over the past few months. Select for What's New at MEPS.

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