Sex and age differences in health expenditure in northern Italy

Simone Ghislandi, Pier Giorgio Crosignani, Eva Negri, Carlo La Vecchia, Carlo Zocchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Little is known about the health care spending distribution across the age and sex gradient in European systems. The aim of the present study is to examine gender and age differences in health care utilisation in Lombardy, Italy.

Methods: We analysed administrative data for the year 2010 in Lombardy (the largest Italian region, with about 10 million inhabitants) including spending for inpatient and outpatient services and pharmaceuticals. data were aggregated across age and sex.

Results: Lombardy in 2010 spent around 10.2 billion €, 51% of which for women. age-standardised per-patient expenditure was however 5% lower for females than for males on average. Per-patient spending on elderly women (>65) was around 75% of the spending on men of the same age group. Further, health expenditure was higher for men for the treatment of chronic diseases. Importantly, the difference persisted after allowance for history chronic conditions.

Conclusions: our results are in sharp contrast with the us based literature, and show that in Italy health expenditure in women is lower than in men. This may reflect inadequate attention to health care of women in Italy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalEpidemiology Biostatistics and Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Gender
  • Health services
  • National Health Service

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Community and Home Care


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