Health care spending increased in 2019. Here’s where the money went

January 21, 2021

If it feels like you are constantly spending more for health care, that’s because you are.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recently released data on national health care spending for 2019. It shows that total health care spending increased 4.6 percent in 2019, reaching $3.8 trillion.

The rate of growth was in line with 4.7 percent seen in 2018, and consistent with annual spending growth of 4.5 percent since 2016.

The report also looked at why spending is up.

Fierce Healthcare reported on a call where Anne Martin, lead author of the study and an economist in CMS’ National Health Statistics group, noted an increase in the use of medical services in 2019 while medical prices grew more slowly.

“Use of hospital care, physician and clinical services, and retail and prescription drugs increased [at a] faster rate in 2019 compared with 2018,” she said.

It remains unclear how the COVID-19 will have changed health care spending for 2020.

Have you seen changes in your health care spending due to the pandemic? Share your story.