Health care spending over the last year has remained modest in its growth—except for home health care, which saw more spending than any other sector.
National health spending reached $3.51 trillion in August 2017, 4.3% higher than spending in the same month in 2016, according to Altarum’s Center for Sustainable Health Spending from the Altarum Institute, a nonprofit health systems research and consulting organization. By comparison, gross domestic product (GDP) growth over the 12-month period ending August 2017 was 4.1%, with health spending accounting for 18% of GDP share.
Spending rose across all health care categories, but home health care took the cake with 6.5% growth. Home health care expenditures reached $98.6 billion in monthly national spending estimates for August 2017. Hospital spending growth was the lowest in August 2017, at 2.3%, according to Altarum.
However, home health care represents just 3% of total health spending in the U.S. Combined with nursing home spending, home health care spending was $272 billion, or 8% of the total.
Spending in home health care has been up and down—the preceding 12-month period ending August 2016 put the sector at the bottom, with just 3.1% growth. In the same 12-month period ending August 2015, home health care spending grew 7.2%. August 2016 monthly spending estimates for the sector were $92.6 billion; August 2015 estimates were $89.7 billion.
The lack of growth in hospital spending is likely due to the impacts of expanded health care coverage and subsequent leveling off of hospital utilization, Altarum found.
Written by Amy Baxter