The Children’s Health Care Spending: 2009-2012 presents the most up-to-date data on health care spending trends for children under age 19 covered by employer-sponsored, private health insurance.

Executive Summary

The Children’s Health Care Spending: 2009-2012 report shows that spending on health care for privately insured children increased between 2009 and 2012, rising an average 5.5 percent a year, with more dollars spent on boys than girls, and higher spending on infants and toddlers (ages 0-3) than any other children’s age group.

Key Findings from this Report

  • Per capita spending on children reached $2,437 in 2012, a $363 increase from 2009.
  • Spending on babies and toddlers was the highest of any age group examined, at an average of $4,446 per baby in 2012.
  • Until age 14, boys had higher health care spending than girls, and boys of all ages had a higher share of spending on prescriptions.
  • Use of Central Nervous System (CNS) drugs by younger children (ages 4-8), pre-teens (ages 9-13), and teens (ages 14-18) rose over time, and in each age group boys had higher use of CNS drugs than girls.
  • Slightly more than 17 percent of health care spending per child was paid out of pocket between 2009 and 2012.
  • There was rising use of mental health services by teens, and there were more Mental Health and Substance Use (MHSU) admissions for girls than for boys in all years studied.