Health Care Economics

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Health Care Economics

​Health economics is a branch of economics concerned with efficiency, effectiveness, value and behavior in the delivery and consumption of health and healthcare. This section address health expenditures and insurance coverage of pediatric patients.​

Health spending is defined as the final consumption of health goods and services. It includes spending by both public and private sources (including households) on curative, rehabilitative and long-term care, and medical goods, as well as spending on public health and prevention programs, and their administration. This is presented as per financing agent (public, private and out-of-pocket expenditure) and is measured in percentage of gross domestic product (GDP).

​The National Health Expenditure Accounts (NHEA) ​report the official estimates of total health care spending in the U.S. The NHEA measures annual U.S. expenditures for health care goods and services, public health activities, government administration, the net cost of health insurance, and investment related to health care. These data (as of 2014, the most recent available) are presented by type of service, sources of funding, and type of sponsor (public or private).

​Some important findings on US health care spending for 2014:

  • Grew 5.3 percent, reaching $3.0 trillion or $9,523 per person.  

  • Accounted for 17.5 percent as a share of the nation's Gross Domestic Product.

  • Private health insurance spending grew 4.4% to $991.0 billion in 2014, or 33 percent of total NHE.

  • Out of pocket spending grew 1.3% to $329.8 billion in 2014, or 11 percent of total NHE.

  • Physician and clinical services expenditures grew 4.6% to $603.7 billion in 2014, a faster growth than the 2.5% in 2013.

Some important findings of NHE by Age Group and Gender, Selected Years 2010:

  • Per person personal health care spending for the 65 and older population was $18,424 in 2010, 5 times higher than spending per child ($3,628) and 3 times that per working-age person ($6,125).

  • In 2010, per person spending for male children (0-18) was 3 percent more than females.  However, for the working age and elderly groups, per person spending for females was 29 and 9 percent more than for males.

Projected NHE through 2024:

  • For 2014-24, health spending is pr​ojected to grow at an average rate of 5.8 percent per year (4.9 percent on a per capita basis).

  • Health spending is projected to grow 1.1 percent faster than Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per year over this period; as a result, the health share of GDP is expected to rise from 17.4 percent in 2013 to 19.6 percent by 2024.

  • Given the ACA's coverage expansions and premium subsidies together with population aging, federal, state and local governments are projected to finance 47 percent of national health spending by 2024 (from 43 percent in 2013).

The full report can be accessed at the National Health Expenditure Fact Sheet from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.​​

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