NU Online News Service, Oct. 29, 12:36 p.m. – The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality says the typical U.S. resident who had medical expenses in 1996 had only $395 in medical expenses.

Fifteen percent of U.S. residents surveyed had no medical expenses at all in 1996, and half of the 85% of resident who had medical expenses had expenses under $566, the agency says.

But a small number of U.S. residents were so sick and needed so much medicine, inpatient hospital care and other health products and services that they drove up the average medical expenditure to $2,038 per U.S. resident, the agency reports.

The figures come from the agency’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey survey series.

The agency has published detailed MEPS results in Health Care Expenses in the Community Population 1996, MEPS Chartbook Number 5, AHRQ Publication Number 01-0027, which is available on the Web at http://www.meps.ahrq.gov/papers/cb5_01-0027/cb5.htm

More information about the MEPS program is available at http://www.meps.ahrq.gov/