Graduate Research and Discovery Symposium (GRADS)


Chronic Condition Predictors of Emergency Room Expenditures Among Uninsured People Aged 45-64

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2015


Background: Chronic health conditions among the uninsured aged 45-64 are likely to cause high costs for Medicare when these individuals turn 65. The purpose of this study was to explore which chronic conditions are associated with emergency room expenditures among uninsured people aged 45-64 living in the U.S. Methods: We used the MEPS 2012 household component data to estimate the association between specific chronic conditions and ER expenditure (N=1102). To deal with the left-censored distribution of the dependent variable “total ER expenditure,” we used a Tobit regression model to determine which chronic conditions predict ER expenditures among uninsured people aged 45-64. Results: Cardiovascular disease (β=1453.237, p =.017), diabetes (β=2072.317, p =.007), and back problems (β=3215.644, p =.000) were found to be significant contributors to ER expenditure. Kidney disease was marginally significant (β=2805.303, p =.060). Conclusions: ER expenditure signals an inefficient use of health care resources, and ER expenditure beyond age 45 among the uninsured could predict high cost for Medicare. Public health stakeholders should focus on controlling cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and back problems among the uninsured as these conditions are most significant predictors of ER use among the uninsured aged 45-64.

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