June 4, 2018

The Bureau of Economic Analysis for the first time released statistics that provide information on how much Americans spend to treat more than 200 specific medical conditions, such as acute myocardial infarctions, chronic kidney disease, and osteoarthritis.

The new statistics, which cover the years 2000 through 2014, are part of BEA’s Health Care Satellite Account created in 2015. The project offers a new way of analyzing health care spending by breaking out spending by the treatment of disease, rather than by place of service such as a hospital or doctor’s office.

What’s new with the more detailed release is information for 261 detailed medical conditions as well as 63 broader medical groupings such as heart conditions and hypertension. This infographic lays this out for you.  Until now, spending information was available only for 18 much more expansive categories, such circulatory, musculoskeletal, and respiratory conditions.

The newly available detailed statistics provide researchers and other data users a fresh tool to gain deeper insights into spending patterns to treat different medical conditions. No other official data source regularly produces such statistics at this level of detail.

Here are some findings:

  • Much of the growth in inflation-adjusted health care spending (using the overall PCE price index) is driven by a small number of conditions. Roughly, 30 of the 261 medical conditions accounted for 42 percent of inflation adjusted growth in per capita spending over the 15-year period. Those 30 conditions include hepatitis, diabetes, and osteoarthritis.
  • Aging and obesity, spending on innovative technology, and seeking preventative services played a role in the spending growth for many of the 30 conditions.

More information and analysis is available in a newly published article in the June issue of Health Affairs, a health care journal.

The Health Care Satellite Account provides an alternative view of the health care sector that may lead to a better understanding of health care spending trends and policies. Statistics cited in this blog come from BEA’s “Blended Account,” which combines data from multiple sources, including large claims databases, covering millions of enrollees and billions of claims. The newly released statistics, along with information about BEA’s Health Care Satellite Account, are available on our public website.