Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Most Middle-Aged and Older Americans Are Being Treated for Chronic Health Conditions

Old age is not for sissies, and chronic conditions are one of the reasons. Among 18-to-44-year-olds, most are free of health problems. Only 20 percent of adults under age 45 are being treated for a chronic health condition. In middle age, troubles become commonplace. Fully 56 percent of 45-to-64-year-olds are being treated for at least one chronic condition. Among people aged 65 or older, the figure rises to 85 percent.

In every age group, Hispanics are less likely than non-Hispanic Whites or Blacks to be receiving treatment for chronic health conditions. The biggest gap is in middle age. Only 49 percent of Hispanics aged 45 to 64 are being treated for a chronic health condition. This compares with 57 percent of non-Hispanic Whites and 62 percent of non-Hispanic Blacks. Many Hispanics lack health insurance, and they see health care providers less frequently than non-Hispanic Whites or Blacks. Is that why fewer are being treated for chronic conditions? Perhaps. But Hispanics also live longer, so it's likely they're simply healthier.

Source: Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, Health Expenditures for Adults by Number of Treated Chronic Conditions, Race/Ethnicity, and Age, 2012

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