Assessing healthcare expenditures of older United States adults with pain and poor versus good mental health status: A cross-sectional study

David Rhys Axon, Jonathan Chien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives This study aimed to determine if differences exist in healthcare expenditures of older United States (US) adults with pain based on self-reported mental health status, which is important to know given the prevalence of pain and poor mental health in the USA. Design This was a cross-sectional study. Setting US Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) interviews. Participants US adults aged ≥50 years, with self-reported pain in the past 4 weeks and positive healthcare expenditure in the 2018 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS). The independent variable was poor versus good mental health status. Primary and secondary outcome measures Descriptive statistics compared demographic characteristics (using chi-square tests) and mean healthcare expenditures (using t-tests) between groups. Adjusted linear regression models with logarithmically-transformed expenditures compared differences in: total; inpatient; outpatient; emergency room; office-based; prescription medications and other expenditures. Analyses accounted for the complex MEPS design and were weighted to produce nationally-representative results. The a priori alpha level was 0.05. Results The weighted population included 57 134 711 older US adults with self-reported pain (14.4% poor mental health, 85.6% good mental health). Compared with individuals with good mental health, individuals with poor mental health had higher unadjusted total expenditures (US$20 231 vs US$13 379, p<0.0001), higher prescription medication expenditures (US$5924 vs US$3610, p<0.0001) and higher other expenditures (US$4833 vs US$2285, p<0.0001). In adjusted multivariable linear regression models, there were no differences in expenditures between those with poor mental health and those with good mental health status. Conclusions There were no statistically significant differences in adjusted annual (2018) positive healthcare expenditures among older US adults with pain and poor versus good mental health status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere049727
JournalBMJ open
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 24 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • health economics
  • mental health
  • pain management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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