The Most Expensive Medical Conditions in America
This Nationwide Study Finds That the Most Disabling Conditions Are Not Necessarily the Ones We Spend the Most to Treat
Published in: Health Affairs, v. 21, no. 4, July/Aug. 2002, p. 105-111
Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2001
This study uses a nationally representative survey to identify the most expensive conditions in the United States and to examine the association between spending and disability. The most expensive conditions at a population level were ischemic heart disease and motor vehicle accidents; at the per capita level they were respiratory malignancies. There was not a significant association between rank order of treatment costs and disability; the conditions with the greatest disability relative to expenditures were mood disorders, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and arthropathies. The authors use the findings to discuss the role for cost-of-illness and burden-of-disease estimates in setting priorities.