A report released today by the National Urban League Policy Institute (www.nul.org) found that African-Americans continue to pay a disproportionate price for health disparities, spending $54.9 billion of the total $82.2 billion for the U.S. in healthcare costs and lost productivity.
The report, The State of Urban Health: Eliminating Health Disparities to Save Lives and Cut Costs was underwritten by Walgreens Corporation, and examined the economic impact of health disparities in the U.S. using two measures: 1) direct medical costs and 2) the indirect cost due to lower labor market productivity. According to the report:
Health disparities in the U.S. resulted in $59.9 billion in increased healthcare costs, with African- Americans bearing most of this cost with $45.3 billion. African-Americans living in urban areas in the South and Midwest saw the highest healthcare costs.
For Hispanics, the costs of health disparities were largest in the West ($5.3 billion) and Northeast ($4.3 billion).
Private insurance plans paid 38.4 percent of the healthcare costs associated with disparities ($23 billion). Individuals and families, through out-of-pocket payments, paid 27.7 percent of those costs ($16.6 billion)—more than Medicare and Medicaid combined.