US Health Care Spending on Children Soars

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The greatest areas of growth in absolute terms were inpatient well-newborn care, ADHD and asthma.
The greatest areas of growth in absolute terms were inpatient well-newborn care, ADHD and asthma.

HealthDay News -- According to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics, health care spending on children increased from 1996 to 2013 in the United States.

Anthony Bui, MPH, from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues calculated health care spending estimates for children and adolescents aged 19 years and younger in the United States from 1996 through 2013. 

The authors extracted data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Disease Expenditure 2013 project database, which was based on 183 data sources and 2.9 billion patient records.

The researchers observed an increase in health care spending on children from 1996 to 2013, from $149.6 billion to $233.5 billion. The largest health condition leading to health care spending for children was inpatient well-newborn care in 2013. 

The second and third largest conditions were attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and well-dental care. In 2013, infants younger than 1 year had the greatest spending per child at $11,741. There was an increase in health care spending per child from $1915 in 1996 to $2777 in 2013.

In absolute terms, the greatest area of growth in spending was ambulatory care among all types of care; among all conditions, the greatest areas of growth were in inpatient well-newborn care, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and asthma.

"These findings provide health policy makers and health care professionals with evidence to help guide future spending," the authors write.

References

Bui AL, et al. "Spending on Children's Personal Health Care in the United States, 1996-2013." JAMA Pediatr. 2016. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.4086. [Epub ahead of print]

Garfield RL. "Spending on Children's Health Care in the United States: Accomplishments and Challenges in Financing Health Services for Children." JAMA Pediatr. 2016. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.4084. [Epub ahead of print]

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