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Health Care Costs 101: Reaching a Spending Plateau?

In 2013, national health expenditures increased just 3.6%, the lowest growth rate in 50 years and a continuation of the slow growth trend that began in 2009.

Who Paid for Health Care over the Past 50 Years?

With an increase of just 3.6% in 2013, the lowest growth rate in half a century, US spending on health care continued its slow growth, a trend that began in 2009. Still, US health spending, which totaled $2.9 trillion in 2013, far exceeded that of other developed countries — both per capita and as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP).

Health Care Costs 101: Reaching a Spending Plateau?, which relies on the most recent data available, details how much is spent on health care in the US, which services are purchased, and who pays.

Key findings include:

  • Health spending and the economy experienced similar growth rates, which resulted in health care's share of the economy remaining stable at 17.4%.
  • Public health insurance was the predominant payer, accounting for 39% of health care spending, while private health insurance accounted for 33%.
  • Even prior to ACA expansion, Medicaid had the highest growth rate of all major payers at 6.1%.
  • Households financed 28% of health spending through out-of-pocket costs, insurance premiums, and payroll taxes.
  • Health spending is projected to increase at an average rate of 5.8% from 2014 to 2023, about two percentage points higher than recent growth rates.

Note: This report is based on data from 2013. It was published in late 2015, shortly before 2014 data were released. CHCF will update the report in early 2016 with 2014 data.

The full report and a quick reference guide are available as Document Downloads.

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The CHCF Almanac regularly publishes data and analysis on California's health care market.

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