The Super Users of America’s Health Care System


[Music] Americans spend more than a trillion
dollars on health care annually. Almost as much as they spend on food. But the average individual only incurs about a thousand dollars in health related
costs a year or less. That’s because the majority of America’s collective health care spending can be traced back to a very small group of people. In a given year, just 5% of the U.S. population is responsible for 50% of the nation’s medical spending. That’s roughly 16 million people who spend more than $20,000 a year on hospital bills and prescribed pills. So who are these “super-users?” Well that’s part of the problem. There’s no single answer. They represent an incredibly diverse population that is constantly changing. What we do know is that roughly 42% are senior citizens, another 20% are under 45, and 4% are children or teens. And contrary to popular belief more than 90% of super-users have health insurance. Many do suffer from long-term illnesses. Almost two-thirds have cancer, heart disease, diabetes or have experienced a stroke. But others have no chronic conditions at
all, and many report their physical health is generally good. They might enter the 5 percent because of an acute condition that needs a costly surgery, like appendicitis. Among those who enter the 5 percent, at least half will leave within a year. And because there is no one factor that predicts who will become a super-user we simply don’t have a good way to address their enormous expenditures. But properly identifying people before they become part of the 5% is only part of the solution. It comes down to our fundamental
approach to care. When health is on the line, the numbers suggest there’s almost nothing insurance companies won’t charge and Americans won’t pay.

16 Replies to “The Super Users of America’s Health Care System”

  1. I would have thought seniors were an even higher percentage. Don't know who is creating/editing these videos but they are an absolute joy to watch.

  2. Can someone explain that last line to me? "When healthcare is on the line, there's almost nothing health insurance companies won't charge, and Americans won't pay". I.e., it's adding up to a lot?

  3. 1:10 To those who didn't pay attention this means that the democrats whining about "insurance prejudice" are full of shit.

  4. NEWS FLASH! "Super Users" = Sick People. WOW! This bullshit video provides zero useful info and reinforces the corporate narrative of "moochers/takers" vs. "productive/job creators" and is complete crap.

  5. This was the dumbest video I have ever seen. The title is really stupid too. People are paying for their health care and although we don't know who they are – they are "users?"

  6. I think this video was supposed to point out a peculiar way in which the health system works (ie, at any given time, a random few are spending a majority of the costs), in an effort to invite theories as to why this is how it shapes up, and possibly push the viewer to ask whether this is a problem that can/needs to be fixed. By understanding that this is how the system is being used, we might look at if it is following the same pattern in single-payer healthcare, or if pushing preventative care would reduce or exacerbate this trend. I don't think the video itself was trying to say it new what this information meant or what the next step should be. The first step is always pointing out trends that we might not be aware of.

    All that being said…. HOLY SHIT this was a gorgeous animation with incredible colors. Yukai Du is absolutely incredible!!

  7. Though the message or conclusion wasn't clear, the sheer artistry and tasteful aesthetics of the visuals made it worth it

  8. price gouging is the real issue. "Several European countries have health insurance just like America does. The difference is that their governments regulate what insurance must cover and what hospitals and doctors are allowed to charge much more aggressively than the United States does."

  9. The title suggests that there are a small group of people that are 'over-using' healthcare and driving up costs for the rest of us. But the content suggests that actually our insurance program is working exactly like you would expect insurance to work: it covers you when you have a catastrophic health event. Luckily only 5% of people fall into that category each year! If you want to focus on the (much smaller) group of people who continue to use healthcare at a much higher rate year after year, I think you will find that these folks often have chronic conditions. These chronic conditions are not something the US healthcare system is setup to deal with well. And often, research on these conditions is not well funded, leaving patient and doctors without many choices.

  10. Total nothingburger of a video. They literally can't answer their own question stated in the title.

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