Skilled Nursing Spending Growth Slowed in 2016

Health-care spending growth slowed considerably in 2016

National Health Spending Growth Slows in 2016 in Wake of Coverage Expansions, Decline in Drug Spending

Medicaid spending hit $565.5 billion past year, making up 17% of all national health expenditures.

The rate of healthcare spending in the United States slowed down past year to levels previously seen between 2008-2015, driven by much slower growth in spending for retail prescription drugs, as well as hospital care and physician and clinical services. In 2015, spending for the sector accelerated 5.8%.

Roughly 10.2 million people gained Medicaid coverage in 2014 and 2015 combined, and 8.7 million people gained private health insurance, taking the insured percentage of the population from 86 percent in 2013 to almost 91 percent in 2015. By 2016, however, the rate of spending growth was more in line with the average annual rate of 4.2% from 2008-15, Hartman said.

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The new analysis from the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows national health spending growth slowed in 2016, when compared to spending increases of 5.1% and 5.8% in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Both private and public forms of medical insurance, prescription drugs, medical goods, Medicare, Medicaid and health services were affected by the weakening demand for these forms of treatment in 2016, making it clear that most Americans found the Affordable Healthcare Act not so affordable. Physician and clinical servicesPhysician and clinical services spending slowed from a growth rate of 5.9% in 2015 to 5.4% in 2016. The decline was driven by slower enrollment growth following expansion under Obamacare. Private health insurance continued to be the largest payer for health care goods and services in the United States in 2016-accounting for just over one-third of total healthcare spending. Medicaid and private health insurance spending growth slowed, mainly as the result of ACA enrollments in 2014 and 2015. A year before, spending on such drugs grew by 8.9 percent, and in 2014 by 12.4 percent. The deceleration was largely driven by slower enrollment growth in 2016 after two years of faster enrollment growth due to ACA coverage expansion. The pace of home health spending slowed compared to recent years, though total spending in home health ticked up.

The total out-of-pocket health care spending in 2016 increased by 3.9%, a one percent increase from 2015's out-of-pocket rate of 2.8%. CMS attributed the previous large increases to the introduction of new drugs and higher prices for existing drugs, particularly those used to help treat hepatitis C.

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Spending on home health services also contracted in 2016, with the 4.0% gain to $92.4 billion falling short of the 5.8% growth seen in 2015. On a per capita basis, national health spending grew at 3.5%, reaching $10,348 previous year.

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

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