Chronic medical conditions resulted in $425 billion in direct healthcare costs in 1990, accounting for more than two-thirds of all personal healthcare expenditures that year, according to a new report.
The report, published by the Institute for Health and Aging at the University of California San Francisco and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found that of the $425 billion in direct chronic-care costs in 1990, 39% paid for hospital care, 25% for physician services and another 12% for nursing home care.
The cost of treating people with chronic conditions is expected to reach $685 billion by 2020 and $906 billion by 2050, the report said.
Nearly 100 million Americans are living with chronic conditions, defined as those diseases and symptoms that last three or more months. That number is expected to increase to 134 million by 2020 and 167 million by 2050.
The report was published in the Nov. 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The report also criticized the healthcare financing system as being too focused on acute care and not enough on such services as home care, rehabilitation and preventive healthcare that can cut down on expensive episodes of acute care.
"We've extended life expectancy by 25 years in this century, but we have not changed our healthcare system enough to deal squarely with the byproduct of that success," said Catherine Hoffman, a researcher on the report.
The report called on HCFA and state governments to adapt Medicare and Medicaid programs that encourage healthcare systems to recognize chronic conditions are afflicting a growing number of beneficiaries.