Nearly 4 million adults reported being treated for kidney disease between 2003 and 2007

Research Activities, April 2011, No. 368

An average of 3.7 million adults in the United States were treated for kidney disease each year between 2003 and 2007, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Kidney disease can lead to renal failure and may be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

The Federal agency also found that:

  • Spending for kidney disease treatment averaged $25.3 billion (in 2007 dollars) a year from 2003 to 2007.
  • About half this amount ($12.7 billion) paid for outpatient care, while $9.1 billion went for hospitalizations, $1.5 billion for emergency room care, and $1.4 billion for prescription drugs.
  • Annual per-person costs averaged $16,315 for hospitalizations, $4,581 for outpatient care, $1,607 for emergency department care, and $643 for prescription drugs.
  • Medicare paid roughly one-fifth of overall kidney treatment expenses for people aged 18 to 64 through its End-Stage Renal Disease Program, which covers kidney dialysis and transplants for people of all ages. Medicare also covered two-thirds of kidney disease treatment for people aged 65 and older.
  • Medicaid paid for nearly 14 percent of the kidney disease treatment care of patients aged 18 to 64 and roughly 8 percent of patients aged 65 and older.

The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid for. For more information, go to: Average Annual Health Care Use and Expenditures for Kidney Disease among Adults 18 and Older, U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population, 2003-2007.

To speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Bob Isquith at or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of April 2011
Internet Citation: Nearly 4 million adults reported being treated for kidney disease between 2003 and 2007: Research Activities, April 2011, No. 368. April 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.