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Lifetime Healthcare Expenditures Across Socioeconomic Groups

Dec 10 2021

Lifetime Healthcare Expenditures Across Socioeconomic Groups

Presenter: Alexander Overdal Kjærsgaard Marin, PhD student at Aarhus University and Guest PhD student at SDU

Abstract: A socioeconomic gradient affects healthcare expenditures and longevity in opposite directions as less affluent individuals have higher current healthcare expenditures but simultaneously enjoy shorter lives. The reverse is true for more affluent individuals. However, it is unclear whether a healthcare expenditure gradient exists in a lifetime perspective. This paper analyses lifetime healthcare expenditures across socioeconomic groups using complete health cost data for all individuals in the entire Danish population. Contrary to existing literature, they find that all socioeconomic groups spend an almost equal amount on healthcare throughout a lifetime, once they account for mortality differences. Moreover, they derive the variance of lifetime healthcare expenditures and find that differences in total lifetime healthcare expenditures between any socioeconomic groups are insignificant using a Welch test. They do however confirm that the negative gradient persists within certain cost components, e.g., inpatient hospital care. Their results suggest that improving the health of a socioeconomic group has limited effects on lifetime healthcare expenditures as immediate healthcare expenditure savings are counterbalanced by additional healthcare consumption throughout a longer life. Immediate healthcare expenditures savings will nevertheless lower current national healthcare expenditures as it shifts the financial burden into the future.

The meeting will be held in SAM mødelokale M and online via Zoom.

SAM mødelokale M / Online