Study: Spending on MH Conditions Tops All Other Conditions

According to a new study reported in Health Affairs, the cost of caring for people with mental health conditions topped $201 billion in 2013, more than any other medical condition, including cancer and heart disease. Here’re some excerpts (see study link below, forgive the ‘disorders’ language):

  • “One key finding of this study is the degree to which spending on mental health disorders in 2013 exceeded that on all other medical conditions, including heart conditions, trauma, and cancer. Spending on mental disorders tends to be underestimated in other sources because institutionalized populations are excluded.
    • Nearly 40 percent of the total cost of caring for mental health disorders is spent on institutionalized populations, including patients in nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals and prisons, the study found. This cohort was previously excluded from similar studies, wrote study author Charles Roehrig of the Altarum Institute (Politico)
  • (Among) the top ten medical conditions in terms of estimated spending in 2013, …the category of mental disorders tops the list by a substantial margin, at $201 billion—of which more than 40 percent is spending for institutionalized populations. Next are heart conditions and trauma, with spending at $147 billion and $143 billion, respectively. Cancer is fourth at $122 billion, and pulmonary conditions round out the top five at $95 billion.
  • Spending on mental disorders had a 5.6 percent growth rate and was not among the top ten. But because it is such a large category, it contributed the most in terms of excess dollars spent: $38 billion.”