Healthcare prices, spending & use: 11 statistics

Total healthcare spending climbed from 2014-18, and prices were the biggest driver of that increase, according to a new analysis from the Health Care Cost Institute.

For the report, HCCI studied 2.5 billion medical claims for people with health coverage through their employer. Claims came from national insurers like UnitedHealthcare, Humana, CVS-Health Aetna and Kaiser Permanente.

Eleven statistics from the report:

Spending

1. Between 2014-18, total spending per person increased by 18.4 percent from $4,978 to $5,892.

2. Adjusting for inflation, spending grew by $610 per person from 2014-18, with higher prices for medical services driving three-quarters of the spending increase.

Analysis: Niall Brennan, president and CEO of HCCI, told reporters on a Feb. 13 call that "I don't think that 18 percent cumulative growth over five years is moderate. My guess is the average American has not seen an 18 percent increase in their take-home pay over the last five years."

Prices

3. Average prices rose 15 percent from 2014-18.

4. The slowest rate in average price growth was 2.6 percent between 2017-18.

5. Higher prices increased per-person healthcare spending an average $453 from 2014-18.

Use

6. Medical service use grew by an average 3.1 percent between 2014-18, with most of the change — 1.8 percent — occurring between 2017-18.

7. Increased medical service use attributed to an average 21 percent of the increase in total spending growth, or about $130 per person in the period. 

Out-of-pocket costs

8. Cumulative out-of-pocket spending grew 14.5 percent between 2014-18. That's $114 per person.

9. Patients admitted for substance use disorders saw out-of-pocket costs grow an average $366 per admission between 2014-18.

10. Average out-of-pocket prices for emergency room visits grew more sharply than other outpatient visits at 32 percent per person. 

11. On average, Americans spent $155 on out-of-pocket drug costs in 2018.

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