October 7, 2013: A new study using HCCI data examines changes in spending on medical services and prescriptions between 2007 and 2011.

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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

Washington, DC —As the nation recovered from the recession, consumers paid more of the medical spending bill, according to new research based on data from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI).

The study, published in the October issue of Health Affairs, 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, Trends Underlying Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Growth For Americans Younger Than Age 65, 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.

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About the Health Care Cost Institute
The Health Care Cost Institute promotes independent, nonpartisan research and analysis on US health care spending. HCCI believes a better understanding of the forces driving health care cost growth will help policy makers, researchers, and the public make decisions that will lead to more accessible and affordable care. HCCI is governed by an independent board that includes distinguished economists, actuaries and health care experts. For more information, visit www.healthcostinstitute.org or follow us on Twitter @healthcostinst

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