The United States population is affected by various chronic conditions

Studies indicate that over 70% of Medicare spending is on patients with 5 chronic conditions. Identify two such conditions and discuss why these patients cost Medicare such a large amount of resources.

Expert Answer

The United States population is affected by various chronic conditions resulting in two-thirds of all the country’s deaths. The two most common chronic conditions include heart disease and cancer. The two chronic illnesses cost the country and the Medicare fund millions of dollars annually, as so many people have to get treatment related to the conditions.  Chronic conditions in the United States are on the rise. The main contributing factor is the societal behavior such as nutrition habits and an ever-increasing aging population. Older people are at a higher likelihood of getting chronic conditions compared to younger people. Based on the CDC’s data, cardiovascular diseases are the most expensive to treat through public insurance plans such as Medicare.

The older population in the country is also likely to suffer from more than one chronic condition. For instance, a patient might have heart disease and, at the same time, have diabetes. It makes the costs of treatment to spike to unimaginable levels.  Patients with multiple chronic conditions (especially the elderly) have a higher likelihood of visiting the emergency room than those with only one chronic condition. Emergency room visits make the cost of care higher. Chronic conditions also put an enormous financial burden on the patients and their families or caregivers as they have to pay some money out of pocket. Individuals with multiple chronic conditions also have unpredictable disease trajectories due to the interaction of different conditions and medications. It means that such patients have to be under constant supervision from a healthcare provider, which increases the care costs. The above is evidence that chronic conditions such as heart disease and cancer increase Medicare costs and the out of pocket costs that patients and their families have to pay for the care they receive.



Sambamoorthi, U., Tan, X., & Deb, A. (2015). Multiple chronic conditions and healthcare costs among adults. Expert review of pharmacoeconomics & outcomes research15(5), 823-832.

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