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 L. Macy, Laura M. Plencner, Bonnie T. Zima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 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
Article numbere20180286
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2018


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