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Hospital Billing Surpasses The Trillion Dollar Mark

U.S dollar signUnited States community hospitals billed insurance companies and federal and state programs $1.2 trillion in 2008 for inpatient care, according to the latest news and numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. This represents a 28 percent increase over the $900 billion, adjusted for inflation, billed in 2004. Check the end of this report for a link to download the original statistical brief.

In particular, in 2008:

  • Total charges billed to Medicare ($534 billion) and Medicaid ($159 billion) accounted for about 60 percent of all charges in 2008. Private insurers were charged $373 billion, or 32 percent of the total. The uninsured accounted for $48 billion, or 5 percent of the national bill.
  • One-fifth of Medicare’s total bill ($107.5 billion) was for treatment of heart disease, heart failure, heart attack, heart rhythm disorders, stroke, or heart valve disorders.
  • Medicaid and private insurers saw the largest biggest bills for pregnancy and childbirth ($22 billion and $30 billion, respectively) and care of newborn infants ($19 billion and $21 billion).
  • Among the uninsured, heart attack was the most expensive reason for hospitalization ($2.4 billion). Three of the top 20 most expensive reasons for hospitalizations for the uninsured involved head injuries, leg fracture, and internal injuries ($2.9 billion).

This AHRQ News and Numbers is based on data in The National Bill: The Most Expensive Conditions by Payer, 2008. The report uses data from the 2008 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 95 percent of all discharges in the United States and include patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

Material adapted from Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Download / Reference
Lauren M. Wier, M.P.H. and Roxanne M. Andrews, Ph.D. (2011). The National Hospital Bill: The Most Expensive Conditions by Payer, 2008. Statistical Brief #107. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

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One Response to Hospital Billing Surpasses The Trillion Dollar Mark

  1. avatar
    Christopher Fisher, PhD March 23, 2011 at 9:29 AM #

    Healthcare costs are an enormous problem that will eventually bankrupt our country (along with Social Security entitlements) if these trends continue. Many of the disease/disorders that are currently treated are the result of lifestyle disorders (as reported in numerous articles on this website), often prompted by obesity, sedentary living, and other factors.

    Having worked at a nationally rank hospital for one year on internship, I know that hospitals have made dramatic cuts, including shorter patient stays, near exclusive use of generic medicines, and more. I know that hospitals actually LOSE money for every day a patient is in the hospital when reimbursed by government health care programs (Medicare, Medicaid, etc).

    Unfortunately, I have no idea how to fix the current healthcare system and its enormous financial burden – at least in ways that American’s might embrace. Americans will have to make changes in their lifestyle if there is any hope for avoidance of bankruptcy. We are trained to let our doctors and/or the government take care of our health, to demand a pill when told of impending or actual health problems, and to deny personal responsibility for our own health difficulties. Thus, I fear we are headed for societal and government breakdown/disaster on a scale never seen before if this current unsustainable trend of trillion dollar deficits continues.

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