The 15 Most Common Chronic Conditions

Data Highlights

The most common chronic conditions among Medicare Beneficiaries are:

  • High Blood Pressure (58%)
  • High Cholesterol (45%)
  • Heart Disease (31%)
  • Arthritis (29%)
  • Diabetes (28%)

Two-thirds of Medicare Beneficiaries have multiple chronic conditions.

Number of Chronic Conditions

Among the 15 chronic conditions examined, the prevalence of multiple chronic conditions is high, with over two-thirds of Beneficiaries having two or more chronic conditions and 14% having 6 or more chronic conditions.

Co-morbidity among chronic conditions is very common.

Data Highlights

Six percent of Beneficiaries with high blood pressure have no other condition present, while 23% have 5 or more additional conditions.

Stroke and heart failure are highly co-morbid conditions with about 55% of Beneficiaries with these conditions having 5 or more additional chronic health conditions.

This pattern of co-morbidity holds for men and women, with Beneficiaries 65 years and older and Dual-Eligibles having greater morbidity.

Beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions are more likely to visit the emergency room and have more ER visits during the year.

Data Highlights

Fourteen percent of Beneficiaries with 0 or 1 chronic condition have an ER visit and only 2% have three or more ER visits during the year.

In Contrast, seventy percent of Beneficiaries with 6 or more chronic conditions have an ER visit and over one-quarter have three or more visits.

Beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions are more likely to be hospitalized and have more hospitalizations during the year.

Data Highlights

As the number of chronic conditions increases so does hospitalizations:

  • Only 4% of Beneficiaries with 0 or 1 chronic condition are hospitalized 3 or more times during the year.
  • Almost two-thirds of Beneficiaries with 6 or more chronic conditions are hospitalized and 16% have 3 or more hospitalizations during the year.

Beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions account for almost all Medicare hospital readmissions.

Data Highlights

There were 1.75 million Medicare hospital readmissions in 2013, Medicare Beneficiaries with two or more chronic conditions accounted for almost all (98%) of these readmissions.

Beneficiaries with 6 or more chronic conditions accounted for a disproportionate share of these readmissions, with 14% of these Beneficiaries accounting for 70% of all Medicare readmissions.

0-1 Condition | 2-5 Conditions | 6+ Conditions

Beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions account for a disproportionate share of Medicare spending.

Data Highlights

The nearly one-third of Beneficiaries with 0 or 1 chronic conditions account for only 7% of Medicare spending, whereas the 14% with 6 or more chronic conditions account for 46% of Medicare spending.

Medicare spending increases with the number of chronic conditions

Data Highlights

On average, Medicare spends $9,738 per Beneficiary. Beneficiaries with 4 or more chronic conditions have Medicare spending higher than this average.

For Beneficiaries with 6 or more chronic conditions, average Medicare spending is over 3 times greater and these Beneficiaries are more likely to have heart failure, chronic kidney disease, COPD, atrial fibrillation, and stroke.