Overall Costs Decline But Out-of-Pocket $ Are Up
Healthcare spending growth has dropped to an all-time low, but we are paying more and more out of our pockets, according to a report from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) as reported in the New York Times.
The report said out-of-pocket spending per person was $768 in 2012, which was an increase of 4.8 percent. Adults age 55 to 64 outspent those under 18 nearly three to one, and women spent about $200 more than men, according to Fierce Healthcare.
HCCI reported other highlights, such as per person spending on prescription drugs grew by nearly 4 percent, spending grew fastest for women, people in the Northeast, and young adults, and increased spending for generic prescriptions and procedures resulted from more use than rising prices. Generic drug prices increased 5.3 percent while spending on generic prescriptions increased for $33 to $277 per person. Outpatient spending continues to climb, rising 6.5 percent in 2012. Prices also rose fastest for outpatient care, increasing 5.6 percent.
In a press release, HCCI’s executive director David Newman said, “In prior years, rising health care prices drove up spending. In 2012, we saw utilization start to change health care trends for prescription drugs and professional procedures. Preliminary evidence suggests this may be indicative of a larger shift in care as people search for lower cost care alternatives.”
According to that press release, out-of-pocket spending for consumers continued to rise, and grew faster than health care payer expenditures. In 2012, consumers shouldered 16.3 percent of all health care costs, spending an average of $768 per person on copays, coinsurance and deductibles —$35 more than in 2011. Per person, older adults (55-64) spent the most out-of-pocket ($1,265) and children younger than age 18 accounted for the least ($427). Women spent more out-of-pocket ($883) than did men ($647). The growth rate for out-of-pocket expenditures for women (5.0 percent) was higher than for men (4.4 percent).