What is happening with US healthcare spending? A recent Health Affairs article from the National Health Expenditures Accounts Team summarizes the latest trends.
In 2013 US health care spending increased 3.6 percent to $2.9 trillion, or $9,255 per person. The share of gross domestic product devoted to health care spending has remained at 17.4 percent since 2009. Health care spending decelerated 0.5 percentage point in 2013, compared to 2012, as a result of slower growth in private health insurance and Medicare spending. Slower growth in spending for hospital care, investments in medical structures and equipment, and spending for physician and clinical care also contributed to the low overall increase.
Jason Millman of WonkBlog has a nice graphic providing a breakdown by spending category.
What is causing the deceleration of health care spending. The Health Affairs article notes that there has been a large increase in the share of insured patients who are covered by high-deductible health plans (HDHP). These plans likely incentivize patients to use fewer services. Medicare spending cuts (e.g., last year’s budget sequester and the Affordable Care Act) and limits on insurer profits may also have slowed spending.