Healthcare spending up 44% among employer health plans, study reveals

Americans with health insurance coverage through their employer — the largest insured population in the U.S. — saw healthcare spending increase 44 percent from 2007 through 2016, according to a recent study in Health Affairs.

Health Care Cost Institute researchers estimated the average annual 4.1 percent increase using a national sample of healthcare claims from their database. The HCCI database has private health insurance claims data from Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealthcare and Kaiser Permanente.

Researchers found spending on outpatient services grew quicker than any other type of service at 5.7 percent annually. The overall distribution of spending across categories, however, remained largely unchanged, according to the study.

Researchers also uncovered changes in out-of-pocket spending among Americans with employer-sponsored plans. While the total share of out-of-pocket spending hovered around 16 percent each year, out-of-pocket spending per capita increased each year.

"Our data show that the out-of-pocket spending burden has shifted away from prescriptions and to medical services," the authors said. "This shift is likely due to a myriad of factors, including benefit design changes, patterns of service use, price increases, and new technology and innovations."

For the full study, click here.

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