Friday, 15 December, 2017

CMS reports slowed health spending growth

National Health Spending Growth Slows in 2016 in Wake of Coverage Expansions, Decline in Drug Spending US Healthcare Spending Hit $3.3T in 2016
Ben Pena | 08 December, 2017, 03:26

Medicaid spending also decelerated in growth compared to previous years, increasing 3.9% to $565.5 billion.

Authors of the CMS report said spending growth slowed a year ago for all three major categories of medical goods and services - hospitals, physician/clinical services and retail prescription drugs - for the first time since 2010. That's down from 5.8% in 2015 and 5.1% in 2014.

The pace of health care spending in America slowed in 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported Wednesday. Retail prescription drugs Retail prescription drug spending increased just 1.3% previous year, following much stronger growth rates in 2014 (12.4%) and 2015 (8.9%).

Private insurer spend increased 5.1% to $1.1 trillion in 2016 (roughly 33% of all health expenditures), which is a slowdown from the 6.9% growth seen in 2015.

Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly, and Medicaid, the government's program for the poor, each reduced spending and fewer people enrolled in private health insurance following a big coverage expansion under Obamacare. CMS attributes the slowdown to a wider slowdown in spending growth for retail prescription drugs, hospital care and physician and clinical services. Despite the slower growth in 2016, healthcare spending still increased faster than the GDP growth rate. Private health insurance continued to be the largest payer for health care goods and services in the USA in 2016-accounting for just over one-third of total healthcare spending.

Together, Medicare and Medicaid made up 77% of home health spending in 2016. As a share of the nation's Gross Domestic Product, health spending accounted for 17.9 percent.

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As the spending rate for USA health services slowed down across most forms of healthcare industries, there was one section that increased: out-of-pocket health charges.

Private health insurance spending climbed 5.1 percent to $1.1 trillion past year, Medicare spending increased 3.6 percent to $672.1 billion, and Medicaid spending rose 3.9 percent to $565.5 billion.

In all, payers spent $162.7 billion on care at nursing homes and continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), an increase of 2.9% from 2015.

"The faster growth in 2016 was due in part to a continued shift towards enrollment in high-deductible health plans, which was somewhat offset by a continued decrease in the number of uninsured in 2016", according to CMS. During the years of the initial impacts of the ACA expansion, Medicaid spending rose 9.5% last year and 11.5% in 2014 as individuals gained coverage. A year before, spending on such drugs grew by 8.9 percent, and in 2014 by 12.4 percent.

Hartman attributed the deceleration in 2016 to a decline in spending for drugs used to treat hepatitis C, the introduction of fewer new drugs, and slower growth in prices for both brand-name and generic drugs. On a per capita basis, national health spending grew at 3.5%, reaching $10,348 a year ago.

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