12 (Staggering) Stats and Facts – Health Care Costs

Many of these statistics are based on health care cost studies published in 2002, 2006, and 2008. While some figures may be dated, these statistics are likely conservative, which makes the information more staggering.

  1. The United States spent $2.3 trillion on health care in 2008, or $7,681 per person. This amounted to 16.2 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).  (Some estimate health care could reach 20 percent by mid-century or before.)
  2. Health care costs more than tripled from 1990 to 2008, and are projected to rise to 19.3 percent of GDP in 2019.
  3. The average cost of an employer-based family insurance policy in 2009 was $13,375, close to the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job.
  4. 5 percent of the U.S. population spends 49 percent of overall U.S. health care spending (2002). Among this group, annual medical expenses (exclusive of health insurance premiums) equaled or exceeded $11,487 per person.
  5. 50 percent of the the population with the lowest expenses accounted for only 3 percent of overall U.S. medical spending, with annual medical spending below $664 per person.
  6. Those individuals in the top 5 percent spent, on average, more than 17 times as much per person as those in the bottom 50 percent of spenders.
  7. The elderly (age 65 and over) made up around 13 percent of the U.S. population in 2002, but they consumed 36 percent of total U.S. personal health care expenses.
  8. The average health care expense in 2002 was $11,089 per year for elderly people but only $4,500 to $7,700 per year for working-age people (ages 25-64)
  9. People 65-79 (9 percent of the total population) represents 29 percent of the top 5 percent of spenders.
  10. The 15 most costly medical conditions (heart disease, cancer, trauma, mental disorders, and pulmonary conditions) account for 44 percent of total U.S. health care spending.
  11. Spending for those individuals with five or more chronic conditions was about 14 times greater than spending for those without any chronic conditions.
  12. A new report released from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown a 33 percent increase in the rate of stroke for individuals aged 15 to 44. (Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States according to the American Heart Association. )


Ira S Wolfe


  1. Roger Manning September 22, 2011 at 4:14 am -

    The Hospital CEO’s, especially the non-profits” might think about their own salary – and reducing it. A very interesting email is circulating on the net:

    “Peter Fine, is an American dream comes true. Peter, a former New York taxi cab driver, has made it big in the health care industry. Now making $1,300.00 an HOUR managing his NON-PROFIT health care corporation, Peter can easily buy a new car for CASH after working only 12 hours. An American dream comes true! How do your wages compare? Data is based on compensation figures that are public information. Internal Revenue Service, tax year 2009, DLN# 93493316013240, Employer ID 45-0233470. 40 hrs/wk 50 wks/yr 2 weeks paid vacation. Current wages may be up to 20% greater. Travel expenses and other benefits are not included.”
    Read the complete email at: bit.ly/nMbqck
    Wikipedia Tax info at: bit.ly/nGM8uv