Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Out of Pocket Health Expenditures Then and Now

In 2013 U.S. consumer out of pocket health expenditures topped $339.4 billion according to federal authorities. That is roughly $1,080 for every person in the U.S. - and that is just the out of pocket portion of the nation's health expenditures.  In 2013 out of pocket health expenditures accounted for just under 12% of national health costs, which overall were close to $9,300 per person.  Out of pocket health expenditures in 2013 were close to 14X greater than they were in 1963.  As amazing as the growth in out of pocket expenditures seems, it is actually slower than the overall growth in our national health expenditures in that 50 year span.  Thanks to broader private insurance coverage and the expansion of federal and state health insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid, consumer out of pocket health expenditures today account for far less of national health expenditures than they did 50 years ago.

Out of Pocket Share of National Health Expenditures

A closer look at the details reveals striking differences in how big a share of health expenditures consumers had to pay out of pocket for medical services in 1963 versus fifty years later. 

Out of Pocket Share of National Health Expenditures by Category


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