Hazra N C, Rudisill C, Gulliford M C. Determinants of health care costs in the senior elderly: age, comorbidity, impairment, or proximity to death? Eur J Health Econ. 2017. [Epub ahead of print].
Ageing on its own does not drive healthcare costs. Instead, this research found that the increasing number of health conditions and age-related impairments along with the proximity to death are more strongly linked to healthcare costs than age alone.
This UK study investigated healthcare costs in people over 80 years old. Costs increased to the mid-90s before declining again. Proximity to death was the strongest predictor of cost, which was higher for people aged 80-84: £10,027 per year versus £7,021 per year for those over 100. Multiple illnesses also had a strong influence, with each additional health complaint progressively increasing costs.
This suggests that to provide person-centred and efficient healthcare services for all, planning should take account of the number and types of conditions rather than age alone.