Medicaid expenditures among children with noncomplex chronic diseases

Jessica L. Bettenhausen*, Troy E. Richardson, Samir S. Shah, Matt Hall, Annie L. Andrews, John M. Neff, Katherine A. Auger, Erik R. Hoefgen, Michelle Lea Macy, Laura M. Plencner, Bonnie T. Zima

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Expenditures for children with noncomplex chronic diseases (NC-CDs) are related to disease chronicity and resource use. The degree to which specific conditions contribute to high health care expenditures among children with NC-CDs is unknown. We sought to describe patient characteristics, expenditures, and use patterns of children with NC-CDs with the lowest (≤80th percentile), moderate (81-95th percentile), high (96-99th percentile), and the highest (≥99th percentile) expenditures. METHODS: In this retrospective cross-sectional study, we used the 2014 Truven Medicaid MarketScan Database for claims from 11 states. We included continuously enrolled children (age <18 years) with NC-CDs (n = 1 563 233). We describe per member per year (PMPY) spending and use by each expenditure group for inpatient services, outpatient services, and the pharmacy for physical and mental health conditions. K-means clustering was used to identify expenditure types for the highest expenditure group. RESULTS: Medicaid PMPY spending ranged from $1466 (lowest expenditures) to $57 300 (highest expenditures; P < .001); children in the highest expenditure group were diagnosed with a mental health condition twice as often (72.7% vs 34.1%). Cluster analysis was used to identify 3 distinct groups: 83% with high outpatient mental health expenditures (n = 13 033; median PMPY $18 814), 15% with high inpatient expenditures (n = 2386; median PMPY $92 950), and 1% with high pharmacy expenditures (n = 213; median $325 412). Mental health conditions accounted for half of the inpatient diagnoses in the cluster analysis. CONCLUSIONS: One percent of children with the highest expenditures accounted for 20% of Medicaid expenditures in children with NC-CDs; mental health conditions account for a large proportion of aggregate Medicaid spending in children with NC-CDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20180286
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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