CHA News Article

2016 Edition of Health Care Costs Almanac Available

The California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) has released the 2016 edition of its health care costs almanac, Health Care Costs 101: ACA Spurs Modest Growth, which relies on the most recent data available and details how much is spent on health care in the U.S., which services are purchased and who pays. The report notes that “after five years of slow growth, national health spending grew by 5.3 percent in 2014, up from 2.9 percent in 2013. The faster growth was due in part to coverage expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and increased spending on prescription drugs. U.S. health spending reached $3 trillion in 2014, or $9,523 per capita, and accounted for 17.5 percent of gross domestic product.”

Key findings include:

  • Federal subsidies for ACA marketplace premiums and cost sharing totaled $18.5 billion, accounting for 12 percent of the $151 billion in new health spending in 2014.
  • Federal spending on Medicaid increased 18.4 percent (compared to 0.9 percent for states), as the federal government fully funded the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid eligibility in participating states.
  • Spending on prescription drugs increased by $32.4 billion, or 12.2 percent — much faster than recent years. New Hepatitis C drugs accounted for $11.3 billion, more than one-third of the increase in all prescription drug spending.
  • Household spending on direct purchase insurance rose only 2.2 percent (more slowly than overall spending at 5.3 percent and similar to overall household spending at 2 percent) despite a 19.5 percent increase in enrollment levels for direct purchase insurance.
  • The growth rate in per capita spending more than doubled, from 2.1 percent in 2013 to 4.5 percent in 2014.

The full report and a quick reference guide are available on the CHCF website.