WASHINGTON (Dec. 5, 2014) — U.S. healthcare expenditures increased modestly in 2013 as a multi-year trend of low cost growth continued, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said Dec. 3.
Total U.S. healthcare spending hit $2.919 trillion in 2013, the latest year for which government data is available, or $9,255 per person. While total expenditures were a record, the 3.6 percent increase was in line with growth rates that have stayed in a narrow range of 3.6 percent to 4.1 percent over the last five years, according to the report, which was published in the journal Health Affairs.
“The continued low growth in health spending is consistent with the modest overall economic growth since the end of the recent severe recession and with the long-standing relationship between economic growth and health spending — particularly several years after the end of economic recessions, when health spending and overall economic growth tend to converge,” the report said.
In addition, healthcare expenditures as a portion of the gross domestic product remained at 17.4 percent for the fifth consecutive year.
Spending on private health insurance premiums increased modestly to $961.7 billion. The 2013 increase of 2.8 percent compares with a 4 percent rise in 2012 and a 4.3 percent increase in 2011.
Helping to hold down healthcare premiums, according to the report, has been the growth in enrollment in high-deductible, consumer-driven healthcare plans (CDHPs). In 2013, those plans insured 20 percent of employees with healthcare coverage, up from 17 percent in 2011, according to the report.
Consumers enrolled in CDHPs, which cost 9 percent to 12 percent less than the average preferred provider organization plan, “tend to use services at a lower rate than these enrolled in plans with lower or no cost sharing,” the report said.