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Consumers Paying Smaller Portion of Health Care Spending

01/16/13

  05:39:54 pm, by MedBen5   , 159 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Consumers Paying Smaller Portion of Health Care Spending

Who Pays the $2.7 Trillion Health Care Bill?

Despite the increased popularity of consumer-driven health plans, new government figures show that patients are actually paying a smaller share of overall health care costs.

Kaiser Health News reports that consumers’ share of national health spending continued a downward trend in 2011, falling to its lowest level in decades. Consumers paid 27.7% of the $2.7 trillion health care bill that year, down from 28% in 2010 and 32% in 2000.

While household expenses have outpaced income growth in recent years, other parts of the medical spending pie has grown faster – especially Medicare and Medicaid. When determining consumer health costs, economists factor in insurance premiums, out-of-pocket costs for deductibles and copays, and Medicare payroll taxes.

Patient expirations of such expensive and popular drugs as Prevacid and Flomax have also contributed to lower out-of-pocket costs for patients, said Peter Cunningham, director of quantitative research at the Center for Studying Health System Change. “A lot of that has to do with the shift from brand name to generics.”

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