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Chartbook on Disability in the U.S.

Section 3: Causes and Costs of Disabilities

3.3. How much do people with disabilities spend for medical care?

In 1987, people with an activity limitation spent an estimated $156,949,000 on medical expenditures. By 1993, it was an estimated $282,832,000. For a group which comprised 17% of the total population, people with a limitation accounted for 47% of medical expenditures nationally.

In 1987, people with an activity limitation due to a chronic condition spent over four times more on medical care than nondisabled individuals (an estimated $4,692 per person per year for those with limitations compared to $1,086 for those with no limitations). This was true for males, females, and all age groups.

People with disabilities pay via public coverage most (Medicare - 30% and Medicaid - 10%). In comparison, people with no disabilities turn to private coverage most - 46%. Half of those with a disability are covered by private insurance from ages 1-17. Private insurance coverage drops to 38% between age 18 and 64 and only 14% over age 65. In comparison, 48% of those between ages 1 and 17 with no disabilities are covered by private insurance, 53% between ages 18 and 64, and 18% over 65.

Those with activity limitations report more medical expenditures.

Figure 3.3

Source: Trupin, et al., 1996

Survey: NHIS, 1987 and 1993

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