2015 Edition — Health Care Costs 101

Reaching a spending plateau?

Katherine Wilson, Wilson Analytics


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Who paid for health care over the past 50 years? Learn more.
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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. (Visit CHCF’s interactive infographic to find out who has paid for health care over the past 50 years.)

Key findings include:

  • Health spending and the overall 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.

The full report, as well as charts and a quick reference guide, is available for download below.

These materials are part of CHCF’s California Health Care Almanac, an online clearinghouse for key data and analyses describing the state’s health care landscape. See our entire collection of current and past editions of Health Care Costs 101.