Does a small minority of elderly account for a majority of health care expenditures? A sixteen-year perspective

Milbank Q. 1989;67(3-4):347-69.


Canadian and American analysts commonly find that a small proportion of the elderly is responsible for a large share of health care expenditures. Data on a representative cohort in Manitoba indicate that the longer the time frame studied, the less health care usage concentrates in a single small group of elderly people. Over the sixteen-year period treated, the average older person's risks of using hospital and nursing home services is nevertheless notably higher than reported to date; yet, one-half of the elderly make relatively minimal demands on the health care system. The results reinforce calls for targeting the needs of intensive consumers of health care services and highlight the variability of cumulative usage patterns among older Manitobans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged*
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Health Expenditures / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Manitoba
  • Nursing Homes / statistics & numerical data