WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Spending on health care for children covered by employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) increased between 2009 and 2012, rising an average 5.5 percent a year, with more dollars spent on boys than girls, and higher spending on infants and toddlers (ages 0-3) than any other children’s age group, finds a new report released today by the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI). The study shows a growth in prescription use by children through age 18, as well as a rise in the number of teens being admitted for mental health and substance use (MHSU) treatment.
The report, Children’s Health Spending: 2009-2012, presents the most up-to-date data on health care spending trends for privately insured children under age 19. It is based on fee-for-service claims for 10.5 million children per year who were covered by ESI.
“The trend of rising use of prescriptions among children is particularly notable,” says HCCI Executive Director David Newman. “We, and others, need to focus on the mental health needs of our children.”
- Gender Gap in Spending: In 2012, spending for boys reached $2,572, while spending on girls was $2,296 – a $276 gender difference.
- Rise in Prescription Use: The most common prescription drug class was central nervous system (CNS) agents (commonly associated with ADHD, anxiety, and depression). Use of CNS drugs by younger children (ages 4-8), pre-teens (ages 9-13), and teens (ages 14-18) rose over time, and in each age group boys had higher use of CNS drugs than girls. [View the infographic on children’s prescription drug use]
- Infants and Toddlers: For infants and toddlers, per child spending was $4,446 in 2012, and was largely driven by visits to doctors’ offices and hospital care for the sickest newborns. Hospitalizations accounted for nearly 40% of spending per baby.
- Teen Use of Mental Health and Substance Use (MHSU) Services Grew: There was rising use of mental health services by teens, and there were more MHSU admissions for girls than for boys in all years studied.
Read the full press release: www.healthcostinstitute.org/files/HCCI_PressRelease_ChildrenReport.pdf.
The Health Care Cost Institute was launched in September 2011 supported by Aetna, Humana, Kaiser Permanente, and UnitedHealthcare to promote independent, nonpartisan research and analysis on the causes of the rise in U.S. health spending. HCCI believes an improved understanding of the forces driving health care cost growth will help policy makers, researchers, and the public make decisions that will lead to better and more accessible and affordable care. HCCI is governed by a board that includes distinguished economists, actuaries and health care experts. For more information, visit www.healthcostinstitute.org or follow us on Twitter @healthcostinst.