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Examining proximity to death and health care expenditure by disease: a Bayesian-based descriptive statistical analysis from the National Health Insurance database in Japan

Yuji Hiramatsu (), Hiroo Ide, Atsuko Tsuchiya and Yuji Furui
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Yuji Hiramatsu: The University of Tokyo
Hiroo Ide: The University of Tokyo
Atsuko Tsuchiya: Shizuoka Prefectural Government
Yuji Furui: The University of Tokyo

Health Economics Review, 2022, vol. 12, issue 1, 1-19

Abstract: Abstract Background Japan is one of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries where population aging and increasing health care expenditures (HCE) are urgent issues. Recent studies have identified factors other than age, such as proximity to death and morbidity, as contributing factors to the increase in medical costs. It is important to assess HCE by disease and analyze their factors to estimate and improve future HCE. Methods We extracted individual records spanning approximately 2 years prior to the death of persons aged 65 to 95 years from the National Health Insurance data in Japan, and used a Bayesian approach to decompose monthly HCE into five disease groups (circulatory, chronic kidney disease, neoplasms, respiratory, and others). The relationship between the proximity to death and the average HCE in each disease group was stratified by sex and age and analyzed using a descriptive statistical method similar to the two-part model. Results The average HCE increased rapidly as death approached in most disease groups, but the increase-pattern differed greatly among disease groups, sex, and age groups. The effect of proximity to death on average HCE was small for chronic diseases, but large for lethal diseases. When stratified by age and sex, younger and male decedents tended to have higher average HCE, but the extent of this varied by disease group. The two-year cumulative average HCE for neoplasms in the 65–75 years age group was about six times larger than those in the 85–95 years age group. Conclusions In Japan, it was suggested that disease, proximity to death, age, and sex may contribute to HCE. However, these factors interact in a complex manner, and it is important to analyze HCE by disease. In addition, preventing or delaying the severity of diseases with high medical burdens in younger people may be effective in reducing future terminal care costs. These findings have important implications for future projections and improvements of HCE.

Keywords: Health care expenditure; Proximity to death; Disease; Bayes; Japan (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1186/s13561-021-00353-9

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