Total national healthcare spending in 2018 grew 4.6 percent, which was slower than the 5.4 percent overall economic growth as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to a study conducted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
As a result, the share of the economy devoted to health spending decreased from 17.9 percent in 2017 to 17.7 percent in 2018. Growth in overall healthcare spending has averaged 4.5 percent for 2016-2018, slower than the 5.5 percent average growth for 2014-2015. The growth in total national healthcare expenditures was approximately 0.4 percentage point higher than the rate in 2017 and reached $3.6 trillion in 2018, or $11,172 per person.
According to the report, private health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid experienced faster growth in 2018. The faster growth for these payers was influenced by the reinstatement of the health insurance tax which was applied to private health insurance, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid Managed care plans.
— Private health insurance spending (34 percent of total health care spending) increased 5.8 percent to $1.2 trillion in 2018, which was faster than the 4.9 percent growth in 2017. The acceleration was driven in part by an increase in the net cost of private health insurance.
— Medicare spending (21 percent of total health care spending) grew 6.4 percent to $750.2 billion in 2018, which was faster than the 4.2 percent growth in 2017.
— Medicaid spending (16 percent of total health care spending) increased 3.0 percent to $597.4 billion in 2018. This was faster than the rate of growth in 2017 of 2.6 percent.
— Out-of-pocket spending (10 percent of total health care spending) grew 2.8 percent to $375.6 billion in 2018, which was faster than the 2.2 percent growth in 2017.
Health care spending growth was mixed in 2018 for the three largest goods and service categories – hospital care, physician and clinical services, and retail prescription drugs.
— Hospital spending (33 percent of total healthcare spending) increased at about the same rate in 2018 as in 2017, growing 4.5 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively, to reach $1.2 trillion in 2018.
— Physician and clinical services spending (20 percent of total healthcare spending) increased 4.1 percent to reach $725.6 billion in 2018. This was slower than the rate of growth in 2017 of 4.7 percent.
— Retail prescription drug spending (9 percent of total healthcare spending) grew 2.5 percent in 2018 to $335.0 billion following slower growth of 1.4 percent in 2017.
The 2018 National Health Expenditures data and supporting information will appear on the CMS website.