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Costs of Falls Among Older Adults

Treating fall injuries is very costly.  In 2013, direct medical costs for falls—what patients and insurance companies pay—totaled $34 billion.1  Because the U.S. population is aging, both the number of falls and the costs to treat fall injuries are likely to rise.

  • Each year, millions of people 65 and older are treated in emergency departments because of falls.2
  • Over 700,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a broken hip or head injury.2
  • Fall injuries are among the 20 most expensive medical conditions.3
  • The average hospital cost for a fall injury is $35,000.1
  • The costs of treating fall injuries goes up with age.1
  • Medicare pays for about 78% of the costs of falls.1

How Are Costs Calculated?

Direct medical costs include fees for hospital and nursing home care, doctors and other professional services, rehabilitation, community-based services, use of medical equipment, prescription drugs, and insurance processing.
Direct costs do not account for the long-term effects of these injuries such as disability, dependence on others, lost time from work and household duties, and reduced quality of life.

  1. Stevens JA, Corso PS, Finkelstein EA, Miller TR. The costs of fatal and nonfatal falls among older adults. Injury Prevention 2006a;12:290–5.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web–based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. Accessed August 15, 2013.
  3. Carroll, N. V., Slattum, P. W., & Cox, F. M. (2005). The cost of falls among the community-dwelling elderly. J Manag Care Pharm, 11(4), 307-16.