Real people. Real choices.
 Site managed by Tony Novak  800-609-0683     Support options    Site map  
"Personal help with important health insurance decisions"
Accident | Short Term | Critical Illness | Dental | Disability Income | Emergency | FB University | Group | Guaranteed Issue | HRA | HSA | High deductible | Immigrant | Individual | International | Life | Major Medical | Medigap | Mini-med | OnlineNavigator | Pre-existing Condition | PPO | Prescription | Small Business | Supplemental | Supplemental | Temporary | Telemedicine | Travel
health insurance research

Top ten medical conditions

Why do we go to the doctor? And how do these most common health complaints compare to the list of most expensive medical conditions and the leading causes of death?

by Tony Novak, CPA, MBA, MT, NAHU certified consumer driven health care consultant, originally published 8/28/2011, updated 10/27/2011

When considering the importance of medical insurance, we should consider the most frequently incurred medical conditions that are likely to trigger an insurance claim, the most expensive medical conditions that require managed care over the long run, and - because a substantial potion of our total lifetime medical expenses are incurred in our final year of life- even the leading causes of death. These lists are compiled from various sources including reports by the Mayo Clinic, the U.S. Center of Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Reasons for doctor & medical facility visits

This list of the top ten medical conditions or reasons that individuals seek medical treatment as reported by UnitedHealthcare group, the nation's largest health insurance company.

  1. Breast Cancer Screening
  2. Cervical Cancer Screening
  3. Coronary Artery Disease
  4. Diabetes
  5. Hyperlipidemia
  6. Hypertension
  7. Asthma
  8. Medication Safety Monitoring (ongoing prescription drug use)
  9. Acute Sinusitis (allergies)
  10. Migraine Headache

Leading causes of death

The rankings of top fatal medical conditions are slightly different. In the U.S., according to the Mayo clinic, the top 11 causes of death are:

  1. Heart disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Stroke
  4. Respiratory Diseases (usually from smoking)
  5. Injuries (especially motor vehicle accidents
  6. Diabetes
  7. Alzheimer's Disease
  8. Influenza and Pneumonia
  9. Kidney Disease
  10. Septicemia (blood poisoning, especially for women)
  11. Suicide

Suicide is more common in men, ranking #8 leading cause of death for men but #13 for women. Because of the split ranking, we added it as #11 in this "top ten" list. Unfortunately the suicide rate is rising more rapidly in women, according to a 2008 study. 

Most expensive medical conditions

The United States, as a whole, spends the most on these medical conditions:

  1. Heart disease and related conditions
  2. Trauma
  3. Cancer
  4. Mental disorders, including depression
  5. Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  6. High blood pressure
  7. Type 2 diabetes
  8. Osteoarthritis and other joint diseases
  9. Back problems
  10. Normal childbirth


Related articles:

Health insurance for diabetics

15 Things you did not know about health reform law

Tony Novak, authorAbout the author - This Web page and related content is written and periodically updated by consumer finance writer Tony Novak. Comments, questions, feedback and updates are welcome to help keep content relevant and up-to-date. Contact the author directly by e-mail, on Twitter or through the contact information included on his Web site.

Article reprint rights as well as specifically customized content may be available on request. Some content may be offered for reprint without charge; other content will be offered for a fee that exceeds the minimum amount regulated by international Web copyright laws. Reprint is not permitted without written license.   email Tony Novak  Follow Tony Novak on Twitter

Mission Statement| Editorial Policy| Privacy Policy| About Freedom Benefits| News| Investors

This web site is independently owned and managed by Tony Novak operating under the trademarks "Freedom Benefits", "OnlineAdviser" and "OnlineNavigator". Opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the author and do not represent the opinion of any other person, company or entity mentioned. Tony Novak is not an agent, broker, producer or navigator for any federal or state health insurance exchange but may provide uncompensated advice, reviews and referrals to these official resources. Novak is compensated as an accountant, adviser, affiliate consultant, marketer, reviewer, endorser, producer, lead generator or referrer to some of the other commercial companies listed on this site. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.