Privately insured Americans paid more for fewer medical services in 2013


Privately insured Americans utilized fewer medical services in 2013 than the previous year, yet healthcare spending increased, according to the recently released 2013 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report.

The annual survey published by the Health Care Cost Institute revealed Americans younger than age 65 participating in employer health plans spent an average of  $4,864 per enrollee in 2013, up $183 (3.9 percent) from the year before.

Concerning inpatient services, admissions decreased roughly 2.3 percent, while prices rose 6.7 percent, meaning overall inpatient spending to rose by 3.8 percent. According to the survey, price per-admission grew an average of $1,101 in 2013 to $18,030.

Outpatient services also saw a 0.8 percent decline in patient visits but a 6.4 percent increase in cost , causing overall outpatient spending growth of 5.5 percent.

Several areas of medical service use increased, including preventative visits to primary care physician and lab tests.

Below are other findings highlighted in the study.

  • Adult women ages 19-54, used  outpatient and professional medical services more than adult men.
  • After age 55, the gender gap in the use of medical services narrowed and instances of men seeking radiology, laboratory, and pathology services increased.
  • Emergency department visits among young adults between ages 19 and 25 were more frequent but less expensive than ED visits of older, pre-Medicare adults (ages 55-64).
  • On average, older adults spent $314 per capita on ED visits while young adults spent $310.
  • While healthcare spending increased overall, the trend did not hold true for young women, ages 19-25, who spent an average of $662 out of pocket in 2013, the same amount they spent in 2012.

HCCI's analysis is based on de-identified HIPAA compliant claims data from three of the nation's largest health insurance providers, covering approximately 40 million Americans.



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