2019 Hero Chronic%20Conditions%20Issue%20Brief 12.2.19 Chronic Disease

Addressing the high cost of chronic disease

Treating people with chronic disease accounts for 90 percent of U.S. health care spending, and the number of Americans living with chronic conditions, including behavioral health problems, continues to grow. To better understand trends in chronic illness, the cost of treating it and explore solutions to help alleviate the personal and economic consequences of chronic disease, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association commissioned Kenneth E. Thorpe, PhD of Emory University to examine these vitally important topics.  

He found that spending on chronic conditions continues to grow, due to increased prevalence of chronic diseases – a development driven by increasing rates of obesity, poor nutrition, continued tobacco use and behavioral health issues including depression and substance use disorder. Without action to prevent and better manage chronic conditions, by 2030 the total cost of chronic disease will rise to $42 trillion in health care spending and lost productivity.

Read our new issue brief examining these trends and our recommendations for action.

Additional Resources

  • See the full paperTrends in Spending Across Key Chronic Health Care Conditions Among Privately Insured Adults, 2000-2015.
  • Read our Insights piece: Confronting the burden of chronic disease.
  • See how Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are working to improve primary care to address chronic diseases and lower costs.
  • Read an in-depth piece on how Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is using primary care to prevent and manage chronic conditions.  

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