AHRQ: 5% Of Patients Account For Half Of Healthcare Spending

Just 1% of Americans accounted for 22% of healthcare costs in 2009, according to a federal report released this week. That's about $90,000 per person, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). US residents spent $1.26 trillion that year on healthcare; 5% accounted for 50% of healthcare costs, about $36,000 each, the report said.

The report's findings can be used to predict which consumers are most likely to drive up healthcare costs and determine the best ways to save money, said Steven Cohen, the report's lead author.

While the report showed how a tiny segment of the population can drive healthcare spending, the findings included good news. In 1996, the top 1% of the population accounted for 28% of healthcare spending.

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Sources: Kaiser Health News; USA Today