09 January 2007

$1.99 trillion in 2005

Reuters reports that U.S. healthcare spending hit nearly $2 trillion in 2005. Healthcare spending grew by 6.9 percent from $1.86 trillion in 2004, less than the 7.9 percent increase the year before. Inflation ran at 3.4 percent for 2005.

Hospital services were up 7.9 percent, accounting for 31 percent of U.S. healthcare dollars.

Doctor and clinical services were up 7 percent.

Nursing home and related went up 6 percent.

Prescription drug spending was up 5.8 percent (6 percent for name-brand prescription spending)

Healthcare costs remained the same as a percentage of GDP: 16 percent.

"Even as the rate of growth for insurance plan premiums slowed, findings showed consumer out-of-pocket spending rose amid growing drug costs, followed by doctor and dental services.

"Premium growth slowed to 6.6 percent at $694.4 billion last year, down from 7.9 percent growth in 2004 as employers added deductibles and curbed coverage instead of raising employees' share of the fees.

"'These actions might slow premium growth for employers, but they ultimately increase the burden on individuals as their direct out-of-pocket costs increase,' the [report's] economists wrote."

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