Estimating the Cost of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

Estimating the Cost of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

September 22, 2009

This analysis estimates cost burdens of racial and ethnic disparities in a select set of preventable diseases including diabetes, hypertension and stroke. Excess rates of these diseases among African Americans and Latinos relative to whites will cost the health care system $23.9 billion dollars in 2009. Medicare alone will spend an extra $15.6 billion, and private insurers will spend an extra $5.1 billion. Over the next decade, the total cost is approximately $337 billion. Left unchecked, these annual costs will more than double by 2050 as the representation of Latinos and African Americans among the elderly increases.

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