Disabilities Account For A Quarter Of U.S. Adult Health Care Costs

"Just over one-quarter of U.S. adult health care spending was associated with disability in 2006, according to a new study by researchers at RTI International and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention," Insurance Journal reports. "The study, published in the January-February issue of Public Health Reports, found that disability-associated health care spending for U.S. adults totaled $397.8 billion in 2006, which was almost 27 percent of U.S. adult health care spending." New York had the highest disability spending, and Wyoming had the lowest.

"Eighteen percent of all adults reported having a disability, defined as having any limitation resulting from a physical, mental or emotional problem, according to the study. The disability-associated health care costs included the treatment costs for conditions such as traumatic brain injuries, strokes, and vision impairment and some treatment costs for chronic conditions such as diabetes and arthritis." The costs are "born largely by the public sector, particularly Medicaid, where 68 percent of the program's spending was associated with disability" (12/11).

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