The association between age and mortality related hospital expenditures: Evidence from a complete national registry

  • Fredrik Alexander Gregersen Health Services Research Unit, Akershus University Hospital And Campus Akershus University Hospital, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo
  • Geir Godager Institute of Health and Society, Department of Health Management and Health Economics, University of Oslo And Health Services Research Unit, Akershus University Hospital
Keywords: Mortality related expenditures, Hospital expenditures, Red herring hypothesis, Ageing


The aim of this paper is to contribute to the debate on population aging and growth in health expenditures, by providing precise estimates on how mortality related expenditures are influenced by age. Using a complete register of inpatient hospital admissions to create gender-cohort specific panels for each of the 430 Norwegian municipalities, we are able to identify mortality related hospital expenditures by separating the impact of mortality on current hospital expenditures from the impact of patients’ age and gender. We apply model estimates to quantify the mortality-related hospital expenditures for twenty age groups. The results suggest that mortality-related hospital expenditures are a decreasing function of age. Furthermore, the results clearly suggest that, both age and mortalities should be included when predicting future health care expenditures. The estimation results suggest that 9.2 % of all hospital expenditures is associated with treating individuals in their last year of life. Our results also suggest that the reduction in mortality rates in the period from 1998 to 2009 have, cet. par. contributed to an estimated reduction in total hospital expenditures of 0.6 billion NOK, a difference corresponding to 2 % of the expenditures in 2009.


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