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Annual total expenses for hospitalizations


For all persons, HPEXPTOT captures the sum of direct payments for all inpatient hospital visits made during the year. This includes payments for hospital facility expenses (including direct hospital care, including room and board, diagnostic and laboratory work, x-rays, and similar charges, as well as any physician services included in the hospital charge) and "separately billing doctor" or SBD expenses (including services provided to patients in hospital settings by providers like radiologists, anesthesiologists, and pathologists, whose charges are often not included in hospital bills). Payments for over-the-counter drugs and indirect payments not related to specific medical events, such as Medicaid Disproportionate Share and Medicare Direct Medical Education subsidies, are not included in this amount. For more information on how MEPS collects expenditure data, please refer to our user note on medical expenditures.

Some analysts may prefer to handle "zero-night stays" differently from other inpatient analyses. While zero-night stays are included in HPEXPTOT, analysts may use ZNFEXT and ZNPREXT for the total expenditures for zero-night stay facility expenses and SBD expenses, respectively. Analysts choosing to exclude zero-night stays from inpatient stays and using other expenditure variables should remove the zero-night stay variables from the corresponding total inpatient hospital expenditures variables.

Because of inconsistent reporting of discharges of infants without complications, AHRQ staff have edited inpatient utilization and expenditure variables to exclude newborns where the newborn left the hospital on the same day as the mother. AHRQ documentation notes that charges for newborns without complications are typically included in the mother's hospital bill. However, in cases where newborns are discharged at a later date than the mother, the newborn's stay is considered separate from the mother in the construction of inpatient utilization and expenditure variables.

Related variables
Variables related to total annual health care expenditures by source of payment, total annual health care expenditures by type of medical service, and total annual health care charges are also available. Please refer to our user note on expenditures for a list of these variables.


HPEXPTOT is a 6-digit numeric variable.


This variable is completely comparable over time.


  • 2007-2021: All persons.


  • 2007-2021



This variable has no flags.