Mental Health Disorder Is the Most Costly Condition in the US

An analysis was published by Health Affairs this week on the top 10 medical conditions with the highest estimated spending in 2013. Of those conditions, spending for mental health disorders topped the list with an estimated spending of $201 billion in 2013. The second highest spending category is Heart Conditions at $147 billion. 

This analysis includes all mild and moderate diagnosis such as depression and anxiety under “mental disorders.” Additionally, the report estimated mental health spending in institutionalized populations—nursing home residents, long term patients in psychiatric hospitals, and prisoners—and active military settings to be $80 billion in 2013.

The author stated in conclusion, “One key finding of this study is the degree to which spending on mental disorders in 2013 exceeded that on all other medical conditions, including heart conditions, trauma, and cancer. Spending on mental disorders tends to be under-estimated in other sources because institutionalized populations are excluded…  A look ahead suggests that reductions in deaths from heart conditions and cerebrovascular disease are likely to drive spending on mental disorders even higher, as more people survive to older ages—when mental disorders, such as dementia, become more prevalent.”