Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Health Care Spending Rose Higher Than Expected in 2011

U.S. health care spending grew at a faster pace than expected in 2011, according to a report released yesterday by the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI). HCCI found that average dollars spent on health care services for that population climbed 4.6 percent in 2011, reaching $4,547 per person. This was well above the 3.8 percent growth rate observed in 2010 and beyond expected growth for 2011.

Consumers spent more of their own dollars on health care in 2011, with out-of-pocket spending growing to $735 per person—a $32 increase from 2010—while costs covered by insurance grew at nearly the same rate. Prices rose for all major categories of health care—hospital stays, outpatient care, procedures, and prescriptions—outpacing an uptick in the use of many of these services.

“We need to continue studying these data to see whether this acceleration in spending growth is the beginning of an upward trend that will return us to pre-recession levels," said HCCI Governing Board Chair Martin Gaynor, PhD, a professor of economics and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, in a statement.

"The Health Care Cost and Utilization Report: 2011" can be accessed here. For an analysis of recent trends in spending on psychiatric drugs, see Psychiatric Services here.
(Image: Andy Dean Photography/


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