Catalog of Age- and Medical Condition—Specific Healthcare Costs in the United States to Inform Future Costs Calculations in Cost-Effectiveness Analysis [Editor's Choice]



This study aims to develop a catalog of annual age- and medical condition—specific healthcare costs per capita among those who are living at a certain age (survivors) and the costs attributable to death itself for those who die at that age (decedents) in the United States. These estimates can be used to inform future cost calculations in cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA).


We discussed a theoretical framework to incorporate futures costs in CEA. We used the nationally representative Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data to estimate costs among survivors and death costs. For survivors, we obtained cost estimates nonparametrically using kernel-based regression and locally weighted scatterplot smoothing. We estimated costs attributable to death using inverse probability weights comparing decedents with appropriately weighted survivors at a given age after controlling for more than 270 clinical condition classifications, demographics, and interactions. Cost estimates were expressed in 2019 US dollar and also separately by sex and specific clinical conditions.


Average healthcare costs per capita among survivors, expectedly, rose over age from $2062 (95% confidence interval [CI] $1553–$2478) during the first year of life to $14 307 (95% CI $13 706–$14 956) at 85 years or older. Average costs of death were $44 569 (95% CI $14 304–$67 369) during the first year of life and declined by –$321 (95% CI –$620 to –$22) per 1 year older.


The US catalog of healthcare costs among survivors and decedents can facilitate calculations of future costs in CEA as recommended by the Second Panel on Cost-Effectiveness in Health and Medicine.


Boshen Jiao Anirban Basu

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