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Treating Aging Baby Boomers Cost Hospitals $56 Billion

AHRQ News and Numbers, September 9, 2009

AHRQ News and Numbers provides statistical highlights on the use and cost of health services and health insurance in the United States.

U.S. hospitals spent roughly $56 billion in 2007—16 percent of their overall patient care costs—treating baby boomers ages 55 to 64, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ). Withan expected increase of 18 percent by 2020, the baby boom population is expected to increase at a faster rate than any other group under age 65.

AHRQ's analysis found that in 2007:

  • Hospitals' costs to treat baby boomers were nearly equal to the older generation of 65 to 74 year-olds, $56 billion and $59 billion respectively. In contrast, baby boomers cost hospitals $10 billion more than the younger generation of patients 45 to 54 years old.
  • The average hospital cost for a baby boomer patient was $11,900 compared with $10,400 for 45 to 54 year olds.
  • Baby boomers were 2 to 3 times more likely than 45 to 54 year olds to be hospitalized for osteoarthritis, stroke, respiratory failure, irregular heart beat, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, blood infections, and congestive heart failure as well as undergo knee and hip replacements and have heart bypass surgery.
  • About 37 percent of baby boomer patients were covered by public insurance, mainly Medicaid, 52 percent had private insurance, and 6 percent were uninsured.

This AHRQ News and Numbers is based on data in Hospital Utilization among Near-Elderly Adults, Ages 55 to 64 Years, 2007. The report uses statistics from the 2007 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

For more information, contact Bob Isquith at (301) 427-1539.

Current as of September 2009
Internet Citation: Treating Aging Baby Boomers Cost Hospitals $56 Billion: AHRQ News and Numbers, September 9, 2009. September 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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


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