Outpatient spending outpaces other service lines — 8 key findings

The Health Care Cost Institute released its 2017 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report, based on healthcare claims from 40 million Americans.

The report details trends in healthcare spending, average prices and utilization for people 65 and under covered by employer-sponsored insurance. The report used data from Aetna, Kaiser Permanente, Humana and UnitedHealthcare.

The key outpatient statistics to know:

1. Increasing healthcare costs drove spending growth from 2013 to 2017. Outpatient spending per person was $1,580, representing 28 percent of the total cost per patient. The estimated total per person — including payer spending and out-of-pocket payments — was $5,641.

2. Outpatient spending per person grew faster than spending growth for prescription drugs, professional services and inpatient admissions, increasing $76 per person, or 5.1 percent.

3. Spending on outpatient care increased 19.3 percent between 2013 and 2017.

4. Outpatient prices increased 5.7 percent in 2017, the greatest year-over-year growth since 2013.

5. Outpatient surgery accounted for the most outpatient spending, at 36 percent. ER visits accounted for 24 percent.

6. Cumulatively, per-patient spending increased by $150 for outpatient surgery between 2013 and 2017.

7. Outpatient surgery utilization declined between 2013 and 2014 but remained stable through 2017.

8. Steady growth in average outpatient surgery prices resulted in 14 percent year-over-year spending growth between 2013 and 2017.

Click here to access the full report.

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