Americans Spend More on Health Care Than U.S. Government Predicts
U.S. residents spent $363 billion out of pocket on health care in 2009, 14.7% more than official government estimates, according to a report by Deloitte, Healthcare Finance News reports. The study, conducted by Deloitte's Center for Health Solutions and Center for Financial Services, sought to find the true cost of health care by examining consumers' spending beyond the cost of physicians, medications, hospitals and insurance.
The study surveyed 1,008 adults and found overall health expenditures in 2009 totaled $2.83 trillion in the U.S. Of that money:
- $199 billion was for the estimated value of supervisory care provided by friends and relatives;
- $144 billion was spent on nursing homes;
- $72 billion was spent on home health care; and
- $246 billion was spent on prescription medications.
Health spending was broken down in the following ways:
- 55% of spending was for supervisory care;
- 15% was for vitamin and mineral supplements;
- 8% was for mental health services;
- 8% was for complementary and alternative medicine practitioners;
- 6% was for health promotion programs;
- 3% was for ambulances;
- 1% was for health publications; and
- 1% was for weight-loss facilities.
Per capita expenditures were $9,217. Elderly U.S. residents accounted for 36% of total health spending -- $1.01 trillion -- and those with annual household incomes of $100,000 or less made up 83% of spending.
A large portion of respondents reported that they reduced health spending by using generic medications, obtaining free advice from pharmacists, visiting retail clinics, or skipping doctor visits, screenings or refilling prescriptions (Manos, Healthcare Finance News, 3/24).