Lifetime Health Care Costs of the Danish Population
Journal of health economics and outcomes research
Objectives: Lifetime health care cost is a statistical indicator for expected health care use during the remaining lifetime of an individual. The objective of this study was to estimate the lifetime health care costs for individual gender and age strata. Methods: Register data on individual's health service utilization (hospital services, primary care and prescription medication) were available for all Danes above age 16 years (N=4.3 millions) for the year 2006. Resource use was valued by
... was valued by national diagnosis-related group (DRG) tariffs and fees. Average yearly costs were derived for gender and age stratas. The life table method was used to estimate survival probabilities and expected lifetime health care costs. Results: The average lifetime health care cost for a 16-year-old person was estimated at 693,000 Danish Kroner (DKK) (2006 values) for men (216,000 DKK when discounted by 3%) and 862,000 DKK for women (301,000 DKK when discounted by 3%). Substantial variation was observed across gender and age strata with a relatively higher load late in life. Lifetime health care costs were higher for women than men. Part of the gender difference relates to longer life expectancies (estimated at 79.5 for women and 75.1 years for men). The analysis suggests that longevity of life accounts for 78% of the difference in health care costs between men and women. Conclusion: This study presents cost data for the general population that can be used to inform general economic models assessing the impact of aging populations, but also comparative models that seek to assess the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of new technologies. Future studies that address similar indicators for disease-specific populations will be valuable.