Americans spend billions on complementary health approaches: 5 findings

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Americans spent $30.2 billion out-of-pocket on complementary health approaches in 2012, according to a nationwide survey.

These approaches include a group of diverse medical and healthcare systems, practices, and products such as herbal supplements, meditation, chiropractic and yoga.

The finding comes from an analysis by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and the CDC, based on data from 44,743 individuals age 4 and older, collected as part of the 2012 National Health Interview Survey.

Here are four other findings from the survey.

1. Americans spent $14.7 billion out-of-pocket on visits to complementary practitioners such as chiropractors, acupuncturists or massage therapists in 2012. That is almost 30 percent of what they spent out-of-pocket on services by conventional physicians.

2. In 2012, Americans spent more on visits to complementary practitioners ($14.7 billion) than for purchases of natural product supplements ($12.8 billion) or self-care approaches ($2.7 billion), and the mean per user out-of-pocket expenditure for visits to a complementary practitioner was $433. That's a significant increase from what Americans spent on purchases of natural product supplements ($368) or for self-care approaches ($257).

3. Adults had higher mean annual out-of-pocket expenditures for visits to complementary practitioners than children ($442 and $291, respectively) in 2012.

4. Total out-of-pocket expenditures and mean per user out-of pocket expenditures for complementary health approaches correlated with family income. The mean per user out-of-pocket expenditure for complementary health approaches in 2012 was $435 for people with family incomes less than $25,000 and $590 for people with family incomes of $100,000 or more.

 

 

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