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Chronic Health Conditions: Changing Prevalence in an Aging Population and Some Implications for the Delivery of Health Care Services

Author

Listed:
  • Frank T. Denton
  • Byron G. Spencer

Abstract

Since the prevalence of many chronic health conditions increases with age we might anticipate that as the population ages the proportion with one or more such conditions would rise, as would the cost of treatment. We ask three questions: How much would the overall prevalence of chronic conditions increase in a quarter century if age-specific rates of prevalence did not change? How much would the requirements for health care resources increase in those circumstances? How much difference would it make to those requirements if people had fewer chronic conditions? We conclude that the overall prevalence rates for almost all conditions associated mostly with old age would rise by more than 25 percent and that health care requirements would grow more rapidly than the population – more than twice as rapidly in the case of hospital stays – if the rates for each age group remained constant. We conclude also that even modest reductions in the average number of conditions at each age could result in substantial savings.

Suggested Citation

  • Frank T. Denton & Byron G. Spencer, 2009. "Chronic Health Conditions: Changing Prevalence in an Aging Population and Some Implications for the Delivery of Health Care Services," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 259, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:259
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    File URL: http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/sedap/p/sedap259.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Denton, Frank T. & Gafni, Amiram & Spencer, Byron G., 2002. "Exploring the effects of population change on the costs of physician services," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 781-803, September.
    2. Frank T. Denton & Amiram Gafni & Byron G. Spencer, 2001. "Population Change and the Requirements for Physicians: The Case of Ontario," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 27(4), pages 469-485, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ake Blomqvist & Colin Busby, 2012. "Long-Term Care for the Elderly: Challenges and Policy Options," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 367, November.
    2. repec:spr:soinre:v:133:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1388-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Amber Bielecky & Peter Smith, 2014. "Methods of soliciting self-reported chronic conditions in population surveys: don’t ask, don’t report?," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 48(5), pages 2463-2477, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Chronic conditions; aging population; health care resources;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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