How much money is spent on health care for kids, where does it go?

December 27, 2016

Health care spending on children grew 56 percent between 1996 and 2013, with the most money spent in 2013 on inpatient well-newborn care, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and well-dental care, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

Joseph L. Dieleman, Ph.D., of the University of Washington, Seattle, and coauthors used the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Disease Expenditure 2013 project database to estimate spending. Annual estimates were done for each year from 1996 through 2013 and estimates were reported using inflation-adjusted 2015 dollars.

Authors report:

  • Spending on children's health care increased from $149.6 billion in 1996 to $233.5 billion in 2013, driven by growth in ambulatory and inpatient spending and growth in well-newborn and ADHD care spending.
  • In 2013, the three conditions with the most health care spending were inpatient well-newborn care ($27.9 billion), ADHD ($20.6 billion) and well-dental care ($18.2 billion). Asthma had the fourth largest level of spending at $9 billion.
  • Over time, health care spending per child has increased from $1,915 in 1996 to $2,777 in 2013.

The study has some limitations, including that it reflects only direct health care spending and does not account for indirect costs such as child care costs and parents' lost wages.

"The next step should be analyzing the factors driving increased and determining whether changes in particular subcategories of spending have been associated with improvements in processes or outcomes. It is crucial to understand whether spending increases have been appropriate or misguided and how we might target spending increases and reductions now and in the future," the article concludes.

Explore further: AMA: Physicians driving the slowing of health care costs

More information: JAMA Pediatr. Published online December 27, 2016. DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.4086

Related Stories

AMA: Physicians driving the slowing of health care costs

May 29, 2015
(HealthDay)—Low physician spending is contributing to an overall slowing of health care costs, according to a viewpoint piece published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

Mental disorders were most costly in U.S. in 2013

May 26, 2016
(HealthDay)—Mental disorders were the most costly conditions in the United States in 2013, with a cost of $201 billion, according to a study published in the May issue of Health Affairs.

Healthcare spending for privately insured children with diabetes rises sharply, 2011-2013

May 7, 2015
Per capita health care spending for children with diabetes covered by employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) grew faster than for any other age group with diabetes, rising 7% from 2011 to 2012 and 9.6% from 2012 to 2013, according ...

US health care spending up five percent in 2015

November 22, 2016
(HealthDay)—Privately insured Americans spent nearly 5 percent more on health care last year than in 2014, largely because of escalating prices, new research shows.

US health care system is one of the least efficient worldwide

October 11, 2016
(HealthDay)—The U.S. health care system is one of the least efficient worldwide based on a Bloomberg index that assesses life expectancy, health care spending per capita, and relative spending as a share of gross domestic ...

Mental health spending nets return by reducing jail population

November 2, 2016
Each dollar a state spends on mental health care cuts roughly 25 cents off its jail expenditures by reducing its inmate population, a new study shows.

Recommended for you

New comparison chart sheds light on babies' tears

July 10, 2017
A chart that enables parents and clinicians to calculate if a baby is crying more than it should in the first three months of its life has been created by a Kingston University London researcher, following a study of colic ...

Blood of SIDS infants contains high levels of serotonin

July 3, 2017
Blood samples from infants who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) had high levels of serotonin, a chemical that carries signals along and between nerves, according to a study funded in part by the National Institutes ...

Is your child's 'penicillin allergy' real?

July 3, 2017
(HealthDay)—Many children suspected of being allergic to the inexpensive, first-line antibiotic penicillin actually aren't, new research indicates.

Probiotic supplements failed to prevent babies' infections

July 3, 2017
(HealthDay)—Probiotic supplements may not protect babies from catching colds or stomach bugs in day care, a new clinical trial suggests.

Starting school young can put child wellbeing at risk

June 22, 2017
New research has shown that the youngest pupils in each school year group could be at risk of worse mental health than their older classmates.

Fidget spinners are the latest toy craze, but the medical benefits are unclear

June 21, 2017
Last week, German customs agents in Frankfurt Airport seized 35 metric tons of an imported plastic device, destroying the shipment for public safety purposes before it could infiltrate the country's marketplaces.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.