Growth in Spending on Privately Insured Drives Most of U.S. Health Spending Growth in 2017 and Early 2018

Research Brief | July 18, 2018 | Corwin N. Rhyan

A new Altarum research brief estimates private versus public health spending on a timely basis and finds that:

  • Spending and price growth among the privately-insured population accelerated in 2017 and early 2018 relative to Medicare and Medicaid, despite very low growth in private insurance enrollment. This reverses the trend seen from 2009 through 2016, when private spending growth was near or below Medicare and Medicaid rates.
  • Since the start of the economic recovery in 2009, total Medicaid spending has grown by 72.6%—more than Medicare (50.7%) and private payer spending (49.4%)—largely due to increases in enrollment, although Medicaid spending has slowed significantly, averaging only 2.3% since January 2017.
  • On a per enrollee basis, private payer spending has grown 45.9% since 2009, three times the rate of Medicare and Medicaid per enrollee spending.
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