In 2003, national disability–associated health care expenditures (DAHE) were $398 billion. Updated estimates will improve our understanding of current DAHE.
The objective of this study was to estimate national DAHE for the US adult population and analyze spending by insurance and service categories and to assess changes in spending over the past decade.
Data from the 2013–2015 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey were used to estimate DAHE for noninstitutionalized adults. These estimates were reconciled with National Health Expenditure Accounts (NHEA) data and adjusted to 2017 medical prices. Expenditures for institutionalized adults were added from NHEA data.
National DAHE in total, by insurance and service categories, and percentage of total expenditures associated with disability.
DAHE in 2015 were $868 billion (at 2017 prices), representing 36% of total national health care spending (up from 27% in 2003). DAHE per person with disability increased from $13,395 in 2003 to $17,431 in 2015, whereas nondisability per-person spending remained constant (about $6700). Public insurers paid 69% of DAHE. Medicare paid the largest portion ($324.7 billion), and Medicaid DAHE were $277.2 billion. More than half (54%) of all Medicare expenditures and 72% of all Medicaid expenditures were associated with disability.
The share of health care expenditures associated with disability has increased substantially over the past decade. The high proportion of DAHE paid by public insurers reinforces the importance of public programs designed to improve health care for people with disabilities and emphasizes the need for evaluating programs and health services available to this vulnerable population.
National health care expenditures associated with disability