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The Cost of Healthcare Over a Lifetime in the US: A Study

Posted in Uncategorized on August 31, 2020


From routine checkups to consultations relating to nagging injuries and illnesses to medical emergencies, doctor visits are something most of us regularly experience from the time we are very young all the way through to our golden years. 

How Much Should an American Expect to Pay for Healthcare Over Their Lifetime?

Have you ever stopped to think about how much those appointments and emergencies cost over the course of a lifetime? Here at Weiss & Paarz, we are experts when it comes to issues pertaining to medical malpractice and the medical industry, so we asked our marketing team to investigate what a lifetime of healthcare costs actually looks like.

The Cost of Healthcare Over a Lifetime in Every US State

Map of the US showing the average cost of healthcare over a person’s entire lifetime, broken down by state.

Basing calculations on the average, reasonably healthy person, we focused on averaging the cost by state for fairly regular and routine care, accounting for occasional emergencies. Obviously, terminal illnesses, injuries, and chronic health conditions will significantly increase an individual’s estimated lifetime costs for healthcare. We excluded such increases from our analysis. Additionally, all costs are based on current currency values in the United States. 

For our final series of healthcare cost calculations, we compiled the average number of doctor & emergency room visits for individuals by state and multiplied those totals by the respective state’s average life expectancy. This helped us determine how many times, on average, an individual will visit a doctor or an emergency room throughout their lifetime in the state they reside.   Thereafter, we calculated the average out-of-pocket cost associated with both doctor & emergency room visits and multiplied them by their respective “lifetime” numbers. Finally, we added these results together and studied the totals.

Ultimately we found the average American can expect to spend over $72,500 on healthcare visits throughout their life, with average cost spreading over the course of approximately 232 doctor’s visits and approximately 34.5 trips to the emergency room.  We found trends varied by state, such that some states boast drastically cheaper care over time. For example, based on our calculations, people tend to pay approximately 46% less than the national average for their healthcare in Hawaii over the course of their lifetime. On the other hand, people tend to spend approximately 28% more on healthcare throughout their lifetime in Delaware than the national average. 

The Cost of Healthcare For A Child (Birth to Age 18) in the US

The average cost of healthcare for a child from birth to age 18 by state.

Unfortunately, many of our medical malpractice cases involve minors with severe injuries who will need a lifetime of specialized and supervised care. We thought it would be interesting to calculate just how much it costs on average to pay for a child’s care through adulthood (age 18). We used the same calculations outlined prior, except this time we focused on children ages 0-18, sorted by state.  We found the average cost of healthcare for a reasonably healthy minor amounts to just over $15,500 per child, which equates to less than $1,000 annually. The variations we found between states for adult costs were more pronounced in our children group: Hawaii’s average healthcare cost for children is approximately 50% less than the national average, whereas Delaware’s average healthcare cost for children is approximately 40% more than the national average!

Average Cost of a Regular Doctor’s Appointment by State

Map of the US showing the average life expectancy by state. Mississippi has the shortest life expectancy at age 75.

At the core of our analysis is data from the Health Cost Institute which demonstrates the cost for routine primary care in addition to emergency care by state. The map above is focused on the average cost of routine primary care by state. Just two states – Hawaii and Michigan – showed average out-of-pocket costs of less than $80 per patient. For reference, patients in Texas, Delaware, South Dakota, and New Hampshire can expect to pay an average of $120+ per office visit! 

Average Cost of an Emergency Room Visit by State in the US

Map of the US showing the average cost of healthcare for a child in the US (from birth to 18) broken down by state.

We also calculated and displayed the average cost of an emergency room visit throughout each state. Unsurprisingly, we found the lowest cost in Hawaii (under $1,000 per visit on average).  To illustrate just how pricey emergency care can be, 13 states display average emergency room visit costs in excess of $1,500 per visit!  

Life Expectancy by State in the US

Map of the US showing the average cost of a trip to the emergency room by state.

Finally, we calculated the average life expectancy in every state, incorporating our data on the average number of primary care and emergency room visits people in each state tend to average throughout their lifetimes. We found that on average, people in Mississippi have the shortest life expectancies in the country (75 years of age). 13 different states feature life average expectancies of at least five full years more, with Hawaii leading the way with an average life expectancy of 82 years of age. 

Unfortunately, regardless of where you live, trips to the doctor and emergency medical services are inevitable and costly! While many primary, specialized, and emergent healthcare visits are successful, unfortunately, mistakes in patient care are real. If you believe that you or a loved one suffered an injury as a result of a healthcare provider’s error,   our medical malpractice experts here at Weiss & Paarz may be able to help.


The information and specific statistics displayed above are solely designed to provide general knowledge to the public and are being used as a part of attorney marketing. Cited statistics and statements were taken from the research of various independent websites (referenced above). Weiss & Paarz did not take any steps to replicate the findings of any sources used in this infographic, nor were the numbers or results displayed above independently verified by Weiss & Paarz.



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