Health Sector Trend Report, April 2019

Trend Reports | May 02, 2019 | Ani Turner

This quarterly report examines current trends in U.S. health care spending, prices, utilization, and employment—providing a first look at full year 2018 estimates and updated public vs. private payer trends. Highlights include:

  • National health spending is estimated to have grown by 4.5% in 2018, up from 3.9% in 2017.
  • Health services spending by quarter does not show a pattern of acceleration through 2018; however, a surge in health sector hiring occurred in late 2018 and early 2019, which may portend higher services spending growth in 2019.
  • Health care spending per person covered under private insurance has grown much faster than spending per person enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid since 2016.
  • Health care prices for hospital care have grown faster than prices for physician and clinical services.
  • Health care prices for hospital care under private insurance are driving up health services price growth.

About Altarum's Quarterly Health Sector Trend Reports

With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Altarum provides a quarterly analysis of key trends in health care spending, prices, utilization, and employment. These reports make direct use of the Quarterly Services Survey (QSS), the timeliest source of detailed, survey-based spending information for health care services, which account for more than 70% of national health spending. Each quarter, when new QSS data are released (March, June, September, and December), we publish this report.

These trend reports are related to, but distinct from, Altarum's Health Sector Economic Indicators briefs, which are issued every month.

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