3 key takeaways from a new study of health spending by race and ethnicity

1. Health care spending is particularly high for white patients.

In 2016, nearly $ 2.4 trillion was spent on health care across the six care types the team analyzed. 72% of health spending was on white patients, who made up 61% of the population. Hispanic and black patients, who made up 18% and 12% of the population, respectively, accounted for 11% of total health care spending. Meanwhile, Asian, Hawaiian, or Pacific islanders made up 6% of the total population, but only 3% of all health spending.

2. Black patients spent a higher percentage of health care spending on inpatient, emergency, and nursing care.

Study data showed that the relative fluctuations in spending on care facilities, emergency rooms, and dental care were greatest. Native American or Alaskan emergency room expenses would be higher per person than the population average. Indigenous patients from America or Alaska had less per-person spending on dental care, while people from Asia, Hawaiians, or Pacific Islanders had the lowest estimated per-person spending on any type of treatment compared to the other racial and ethnic groups, with the exception of dental care Care.

Black patients spent less on outpatient and dental care. However, they spent more on inpatients, emergency rooms, and care facilities. Hispanic patients had significantly less estimated per-person spending on outpatient, dental care, nursing home care, and prescribed medication. White patient health care expenditures were higher than the population average for outpatient care and prescribed medicines.

3. Health expenditures for asthma, cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and COPD have been high in black patients.

Black and white patients had the most statistically significant differences in health expenditure. For asthma, cardiovascular diseases, cerebrovascular diseases and COPD. Black people had significantly more expenses per reported case. All statistically significant differences for black people showed that, per reported case, they had lower utilization for outpatient care and higher utilization per reported case for prescribed drugs, and in particular for inpatient care and the emergency room. White individuals had statistically less spending per reported case on asthma, cerebrovascular disease, COPD, and high blood pressure, and statistically significantly more spending per reported case on lower back and neck pain.

The authors concluded by suggesting that further research is needed to determine current health spending by race and ethnicity, including spending related to the COVID-19 pandemic.