In the US the top 5% of medical spenders spend an average of $40,682 a year each, and account for 49.5% of all spending. (The bottom half spend an average of $236.)
I always think that is the variation in lifetime spending that matters most not the spending within a given year. So I dug up this link. It is for Canada but, though we spend much more in the USA, the relative differences should be similar. There are a couple of nice charts in the document. Here is some pertinent text:
In order to calculate the distribution of lifetime costs, we estimated the Markov models using Monte Carlo microsimulation trials (Figures (Figures44 and and5).5). As might be expected, lifetime costs are somewhat less skewed than are per capita costs in any single year. However, the distribution is far from normal; costs are not tightly grouped around the mean. For women, mean lifetime costs are $89,722, with a standard deviation of $38,776. Median costs for women were $86,125. Ten per cent of women incur lifetime costs of less than $43,843. For men, the mean is $64,052 with a standard deviation of $35,331. Median costs for men were $59,819, while 10% of men incurred lifetime costs of less than $22,450.
Interestingly many people’s lifetime spending is below $20,000. The middle 50% starts at about $60,000 and goes to about $140,000. The chart shows some at $260,000. I am sure that some people go way over the high number but their numbers are too small to show up.