Estimates of state-level health-care expenditures associated with disability

Public Health Rep. 2010 Jan-Feb;125(1):44-51. doi: 10.1177/003335491012500107.


Objectives: We estimated state-level disability-associated health-care expenditures (DAHE) for the U.S. adult population.

Methods: We used a two-part model to estimate DAHE for the noninstitutionalized U.S. civilian adult population using data from the 2002-2003 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and state-level data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Administrative data for people in institutions were added to generate estimates for the total adult noninstitutionalized population. Individual-level data on total health-care expenditures along with demographic, socioeconomic, geographic, and payer characteristics were used in the models.

Results: The DAHE for all U.S. adults totaled $397.8 billion in 2006, with state expenditures ranging from $598 million in Wyoming to $40.1 billion in New York. Of the national total, the DAHE were $118.9 billion for the Medicare population, $161.1 billion for Medicaid recipients, and $117.8 billion for the privately insured and uninsured populations. For the total U.S. adult population, 26.7% of health-care expenditures were associated with disability, with proportions by state ranging from 16.9% in Hawaii to 32.8% in New York. This proportion varied greatly by payer, with 38.1% for Medicare expenditures, 68.7% for Medicaid expenditures, and 12.5% for nonpublic health-care expenditures associated with disability.

Conclusions: DAHE vary greatly by state and are borne largely by the public sector, and particularly by Medicaid. Policy makers need to consider initiatives that will help reduce the prevalence of disabilities and disability-related health disparities, as well as improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cost of Illness
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Expenditures / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health / economics*
  • Insurance, Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Medicaid / economics
  • Medicaid / statistics & numerical data
  • Medically Uninsured / statistics & numerical data
  • Medicare / economics
  • Medicare / statistics & numerical data
  • Models, Economic
  • United States