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Big Money: Cost of 10 Most Expensive Health Conditions Near $500 Billion

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: January 23, 2008

The Nation's 10 most expensive medical conditions cost about $500 billion to treat in 2005, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The money paid for visits to doctors' offices, clinics and emergency departments, hospital stays, home health care, and prescription medicines.

Estimated spending for the 10 most expensive conditions:

  • Heart conditions—$76 billion.
  • Trauma disorders—$72 billion.
  • Cancer—$70 billion.
  • Mental disorders, including depression—$56.0 billion.
  • Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—$54 billion.
  • High blood pressure—$42 billion.
  • Type 2 diabetes—$34 billion.
  • Osteoarthritis and other joint diseases—$34 billion.
  • Back problems—$32 billion.
  • Normal childbirth—$32 billion.

AHRQ, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, works to enhance the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care in the United States. 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 the medical care costs of other conditions in 2005, go to the MEPS Web site at:

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

Current as of January 2008


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


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