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5 trends in national healthcare spending: Growth down overall, out-of-pocket spending up 3.9% to $352M

National health spending growth slowed last year, with spending on insurance as well as medical goods and services growing at a slower rate than in 2014 and 2015, according to Health Affairs.


Here are five things to know:

1. National healthcare spending was up 4.3 percent in 2016, down from 5.8 percent in 2015 and 5.1 percent in 2014. Growth is leveling off after a higher rate of people had access to insurance through the ACA exchanges in 2014 and 2015.

2. Last year, healthcare spending accounted for 17.9 percent of the overall gross domestic product, up from 17.7 percent the year before.

3. Despite the overall trend, out-of-pocket spending grew faster in 2016 than it has in any year since 2007. Out-of-pocket spending was up 3.9 percent last year — reaching $352.5 million — compared to 2.8 percent growth in 2015. The fast growth was due in part to the higher volume of beneficiaries with high-deductible health plans.

4. Medicare spending grew 3.6 percent in 2016 to $672.1 billion, slower than the 4.8 percent growth in 2015 and nearly 5 percent growth in 2014. Medicaid spending was up nearly 4 percent in 2016 to $565.5 billion, considerably lower than the 9.5 percent and 11.5 percent growth in 2015 and 2014, respectively.

5. Retail drug spending hit $328.6 billion last year, up 1.3 percent. In 2014, retail prescription drug spending was at 12.4 percent.

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