GAO: Five percent of Medicaid patients account for half of program's costs

May 10, 2015

About 5% of Medicaid beneficiaries account for almost 50% of program spending, according to a report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. The report found a small number of "super-utilizers" consume much of healthcare spending, reporting that, from 2009 to 2011, 5% of enrollees in Medicaid made up 48% of costs, while the most expensive 1% made up 25% of costs. The report notes that Medicaid costs are expected to increase as more people are covered under Obamacare's expansion of the program. The report's authors note that studying high-expenditure enrollees "could enhance efforts to manage expenditures and facilitate improvements to care."