19 Dec 2007

A Survey of the Impact of Death-Related Costs on Health-Care Expenditure and Demographics and Health Costs in Italy

M. Raitano / S. Gabriele / C. Cislaghi / F. Costantini / F. Innocenti / V. Lepore / F. Tediosi / M. Valerio / C. Zocchetti

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This Policy Brief summarises two papers prepared for the AHEAD project (WP7) focusing on the impact of death costs on health-care spending. The papers reviewed the empirical literature on health economics, presenting the main results obtained by studies on the interaction among age, proximity to death and health-care expenditure. Besides, they provide estimates of health expenditure by ‘distance from birth’ (i.e. age) and by ‘distance from death’ (i.e. the health expenditure incurred in the last period of life) in different parts of Italy. Specifically, a distinction is drawn between ‘old age costs’ – healthcare expenditure due to the ageing of the population – and ‘death costs’ – healthcare expenditure due to the event of dying. Using the methodology proposed by Bartolacci et al. (2001), the authors estimate hospital costs prior to death in four regions (Tuscany, Lombardy, Abruzzi and Apulia). The results are then compared with previous estimates of healthcare expenditure by age and prior to death available for Italy. We compare the results with those of some other OECD countries as well.