New Health Affairs Study Looks At Health Care Spending During and After the Recession

No Slowdown in Spending for Consumers Who Picked Up More of the Medical Care Bill

New Study Looks At Health Care Spending During and After the Recession

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As the nation recovered from the recession, consumers paid more of the medical spending bill, according to based on data from the (HCCI).

The study, published in the October issue of , looked at spending on medical services and prescriptions between 2007 and 2011. During this time, spending per person rose at an average annual rate of 4.9 percent, faster than the economy. Per person spending on medical care increased an average of 5.3 percent annually, while per person spending on prescriptions grew an average of 3.3 percent each year.

Out-of-pocket spending for medical care increased an average of 8 percent each year, compared to a 4.9 percent increase in spending by employers and insurers. The amount consumers paid out of pocket for prescription drugs and devices remained about the same from 2007-2011, as insurers covered a larger portion of prescription costs.

“Overall, spending growth may have slowed after the recession, but consumers, employers, and insurers have had different experiences,” said lead author Carolina Herrera, Director of Research at HCCI. “After the recession, consumers didn’t see their out-of-pocket medical spending growth slow, but medical spending growth for employers and health plans did slow.”

The study, is based on the health spending of forty million people per year between 2007 and 2011. The data was provided to HCCI by Aetna, Humana, and UnitedHealthcare– three of the nation’s largest private health insurance companies.