Doctor's office among the bottom spenders, more than 50 percent of expenses are going toward ambulatory events such as office visits, outpatient visits or emergency care. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Here’s a top 1 percent you don’t want to be a part of: health care spenders. According to a new brief from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), in 2017, the top 1 percent of spenders accounted for 22 percent of health care expenses. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent accounted for just 3 percent of health care spending–and 15 percent of the population had no health care expenditures.

This only makes sense, of course. Healthy people need little more than an annual checkup and preventive care, while those with chronic conditions or serious illnesses need a lot more care. But when we talk about reigning in high health care costs and spending, knowing which demographics and health care services to target will help maximize ROI.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to, part of your ALM digital membership.

Your access to unlimited content isn’t changing.
Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Critical information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account?

Emily Payne

Emily Payne is the current deputy editor for ALM's Business & Finance Markets and former managing editor for BenefitsPRO. A Wisconsin native, she has spent the past decade writing and editing for various athletic and fitness publications. She holds an English degree and Business certificate from the University of Wisconsin.

More from this author



Join BenefitsPRO

Don’t miss crucial news and insights you need to navigate the shifting employee benefits industry. Join now!

  • Unlimited access to - your roadmap to thriving in a disrupted environment
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and
  • Exclusive discounts on and ALM events.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join BenefitsPRO

Copyright © 2023 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.