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Costliest Medical Condition in America

May 26, 2016

medical spendingThe Crisis

With spending at over $201 billion in 2013, mental disorders topped the list as the costliest medical conditions in America. The recent piece in HealthAffairs shines the light on the pressing need to change the status quo.

This is a big shift in recent years as heart conditions have held the top spot up until 2004 were both equal at $131 billion each. In the years since, mental disorders far surpass heart conditions — $201 billion versus $147 billion. Each year, the National Health Expenditure Accounts (NHEA) provides estimates of annual health spending.


Why Is It So Expensive?

One potential factor that is causing the increased spending is the utilization of costly interventions. An example is a pharmaceutical intervention that takes 10 years and over $1 billion on average to bring something to market.

Previously, other parts of government including the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality under its Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) produced estimates on healthcare spending. The challenges that arose were often that spending was hard to pinpoint on exact conditions, particularly when there were multiple conditions. Behaviors are strongly associated with overall health, and thus overall healthcare spending.

Now institutionalized populations are included in the estimates, which has dramatic impact on the results: mental disorders sit atop the list at $201 billion in 2013. The spending was based on the 260 categories that are defined in the AHRQ Clinical Classifications Software.

Between 1996 and 2013, personal spending on health grew on average at 5.9 percent. Comparing this to the Gross Domestic Product that saw growth of 4.3 percent over the similar period.


The Solution

Prevail Health has built a clinically-proven, accessible, and affordable digital behavioral health solution. Today, over 15,000 people a month are logging on to Prevail’s programs, joining a community of supportive peers, and making strides to becoming healthier. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality independently reviewed Prevail’s program giving it the highest evidence rating of ‘strong’ and 94 percent of users would recommend it to their friends.

Now there is an ability to use your mind to help change the direction of healthcare spending. Connect and chat about the ups and downs of life.

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