The Concentration of Health Care Expenditures in the US and Predictions of Future Spending
Estimates of health care expenses for the U.S. population are critical to policymakers and others concerned with access to medical care and the cost and sources of payment for that care. Medical care expenses, however, are highly concentrated among a relatively small proportion of individuals in the community population. Using information from the Household Component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS-HC), this study provides detailed estimates of the concentration and persistence in the level of health care expenditures in the United States. Attention is given to identifying the characteristics of individuals with the highest levels of medical expenditures, in addition to those factors that are associated with low medical expense profiles. Analyses are included to discern the most salient factors that serve to predict the likelihood of experiencing high levels of medical expenditures in a subsequent year, in addition to the factors operational in predictions of experiencing low levels of medical expenditures in a subsequent year.