Differences in Healthcare Utilization by Birth Cohort Over the Past 34 Years and Potential Policy Implications

Michael Davern, University of Minnesota
Brian Lee, University of Minnesota
Pamela Johnson, University of Minnesota
Lynn Blewett, University of Minnesota

We examine whether there are cohort effects in healthcare utilization over the last 34 years, we examine healthcare utilization using National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data obtained from a new data resource called the Integrated Health Interview Series (IHIS). The IHIS is a harmonized set of variables from the NHIS public use microdata files from 1969 to the present, which allows easy access to all years of data. Our preliminary results show signs of a cohort effect in that each successive cohort is utilizing medical doctors more frequently than the last at the same age and that the divergence seems to be growing over time. Our analysis could have implications for how we estimate the impact of population aging on healthcare expenditures in the United States. Current expenditure models assume that age-specific utilization rates from one cohort can be applied to project the utilization and costs of the next.

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Presented in Poster Session 6