Spending Per Privately Insured Rose 3.9 Percent In 2013, But Falling Utilization Offset Rising Prices


Privately insured Americans spent more on medical services in 2013 even though they used fewer of them, according a recent report from the Health Care Cost Institute. The 2013 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report found that spending per enrollee in employer health plans grew by 3.9 percent, continuing the moderate growth trend that began in 2010. But falling utilization helped offset the continued growth in health care prices.

Overall, health care spending per enrollee averaged $4,915 in 2013, up $185 from 2012. In addition, consumers spent an average of $800 per person out-of-pocket, on copayments and deductibles, a 4 percent increase over 2012.

Utilization falls while prices increase. Use of brand prescription drugs, inpatient admissions, and outpatient services declined in 2013, according to the Health Care Cost Institute. The survey found that acute inpatient hospital admissions fell 2.3 percent, while prices rose 6.7 percent, causing overall inpatient spending to rise by 3.8 percent. Outpatient visits declined by 0.8 percent while prices rose 6.4 percent. Total outpatient visit spending grew 5.5 percent.

Use of brand name prescriptions (filled days per 1,000 insureds) dropped by 15.5 percent while the average price per filled day increased more than 21.2 percent. Total spending on brand name drugs grew only 2.4 percent. Antidepressants dominated generic prescription drug use, accounting for over 10 percent of all generic drugs used in 2013.

For more information, visit http://www.healthcostinstitute.org/2013-health-care-cost-and-utilization-report.

Visit our News Library to read more news stories.