Despite the use of health care services remaining constant or even declining, spending on health care by Americans who get insurance through work accelerated in 2016. According to the Wall Street Journal, this increase is likely due to rising prices. Research conducted by the Health Care Cost Institute found that there was a 4.6% increase in spending per person in 2016. This is in comparison to a 4.1% increase in 2015 and less than 3% increase in 2014 and 2013.
Niall Brennan, President of the Health Care Cost Institute summarized the problem: “Working Americans are using less care and paying significantly more. That has huge implications for the health-care system, for the overall stability and growth for our economy as a whole. And I think we would probably behoove ourselves [to determine] why prices and spending are so high in American health care.”
For example, between 2012 and 2016, surgery prices grew by 30%, despite a 16% decrease in admission. Similarly, spending on professional services such as doctor’s visits and radiology increased by 11% over the same period, despite a 3% decline in use.
With these rising costs, it is clear that Americans cannot always rely on their employer-sponsored insurance to pay for their health care.