A recent report from Health Care Cost Institute found that Americans under the age of 65 who were insured by their employer spent more than ever on healthcare. Total spending per person is growing faster than it has in prior years at 4.6% in 2016, compared to growth of 4.1% in 2015 and sub 3% in the 2012-2014 period. The increase in spending was nearly entirely based on price increases, as utilization of most services remained unchanged or declined both year over year and in the 2012-2016 period.
As a result of spending increases, healthcare spending for the commercially insured reached a new high of $5,407 per person in 2016. While prescription drug spending was the leading contributor of spending changes in 2014 and 2015, outpatient services was the leading driver of spending changes in 2016. Inpatient and outpatient spending had similar growth trends during the study period, and both saw an uptick in 2016, largely driven by surgical admissions for inpatient services and emergency room visits and surgeries for outpatient services.