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Future health care costs--do health care costs during the last year of life matter?

Future health care costs--do health care costs during the last year of life matter?

Health Policy 62(2): 161-172

While some studies have shown a considerable effect of ageing upon future health care costs, others indicate small or no effects. Moreover, studies have shown that age-related increases in health care costs in part can be explained by high costs in the last year of life. The aim of this study was to project future costs of hospital in-patient care and primary health care services in Denmark on the basis of demographic changes, both with and without account for the high costs in the last year of life. Costs were projected on the basis of a random 19% sample of the Danish population using the cohort-component method. The traditional projection method does not account for the high costs in the last year of life while the 'improved' method does. The Danish population was projected to increase by 8.2% during the period 1995-2020, and health care costs by 18.5% according to the traditional projection method and 15.1% according to the improved one. These results suggest that the high costs in the last year of life does matter in projections of future health care costs and should be taken into account. Furthermore, ageing per se seems to have considerable impact on future health care costs.

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Accession: 046140899

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PMID: 12354410

DOI: 10.1016/s0168-8510(02)00015-5

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