A recent paper by Roehrig finds that annual U.S. spending to treat mental illness is $201 billion. This puts mental illness as the most expensive disease to treat.
Previous estimates using data such as the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) did not have mental illness as the most expensive disease. However, MEPS examines health care spending for non-institutionalized patients. Spending for mentlaly ill atients in nursing homes, psychiatric facilities and jails, however can be very large. After taking these costs into account, mental illness leaped to the #1 category.
Regardless of the spending numbers, additional innovative treatments are needed to ensure that patients with mental receive high-quality, high-value care.
- CHarles Roehrig. “Mental Disorders Top The List Of The Most Costly Conditions In The United States: $201 Billion” Health Aff May 2016 10.1377/hlthaff.2015.1659