Health care costs climb for kids

A report from a new think tank called Health Care Cost Institute says spending on health care for children under 18 is rising nearly one-and-a-half times faster than for those 55 to 64.

Jeremy Hobson: We've all heard about the cost of health care for seniors going up. But a report out this morning finds the amount of money spent on health care for children is growing even faster.

Marketplace's Nancy Marshall-Genzer has the details.


Nancy Marshall-Genzer: The report is from a new health care think tank called the Health Care Cost Institute. It analyzed about three billion health insurance claims from 2010.

Carnegie Mellon health economist Martin Gaynor chairs the Institute. The report found that healthcare spending for kids under 18 is rising almost one-and-a-half times faster than spending on the 55 to 64 age group. Why? Gaynor has some theories.

Martin Gaynor: We have more kids who have diabetes, for example. It could be that we have more kids with asthma. It could be teen pregnancies. There could be a number of other things.

But, although spending increased the fastest for the 18-and-unders, we still shell out the most health care dollars on their parents and grandparents.

Austin Frakt is a health economist at Boston University.

Austin Frakt: At age 65, you’re going to spend twice as much as you spent when you were, say 45.

Gaynor says that’s why the bump-up in health care costs for the very young is so troubling, because they’ll be spending even more when they’re 65.

In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall-Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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