In 2011, 21.5 million Americans (nearly 7 percent) paid $2,000 or more out of pocket for medical care, while nearly 4.8 million (1.5 percent) paid $5,000 or more out of pocket and about 1.3 million (0.4 percent) paid $10,000 or more. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Statistical Brief #423: Differentials in the Concentration in the Level of Out-of-Pocket Health Expenditures across Population Subgroups in the U.S., 2011.)
- In 2011, the top 1 percent ranked by their out-of-pocket health care expenses accounted for 18.3 percent of total out-of-pocket health care expenditures with an annual mean out-of-pocket expenditure of $10,924. Overall, the top 50 percent of the population ranked by their out-of-pocket expenditures accounted for 97.5 percent of overall out-of-pocket health care expenditures while the lower 50 percent accounted for only 2.5 percent of the total.
- In 2011, 6.9 percent of the population (21.5 million individuals) had out-of-pocket expenditures for medical care that were equal to or greater than $2,000. Nearly 4.8 million individuals (1.5 percent) paid $5,000 or more out of pocket for their medical care. When considering higher spending thresholds, approximately 1.3 million individuals (0.4 percent) incurred out-of-pocket expenditures of at least $10,000.
- In 2011, only 3.1 percent of medical expenditures for inpatient hospitalizations were paid out of pocket. Alternatively, 12.1 percent of ambulatory care expenditures, 19.7 percent of prescribed medical expenditures and 46 percent of dental expenditures were paid out of pocket.
- Children under the age of 18 were characterized by substantially greater concentrated levels of out-of-pocket health care spending relative to their older counterparts. Alternatively, the elderly had the highest mean levels of out-of-pocket health care expenditures relative to younger population subgroups at the top quantiles of the expenditure distribution.
- The top 5 percent of the publicly insured population under age 65 ranked by their health care expenses accounted for 69.7 percent of the out-of-pocket health care expenditures incurred by this subpopulation with an annual mean of $2,977. Individuals with public insurance had the most concentrated levels of out-of-pocket health care expenditures and the lowest annual mean out-of-pocket expenses.
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