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Startling stat: $1 of every $4 spent on health care is waste

A new study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association confirms what many of us have either experienced or strongly suspect: There’s a lot of waste in the U.S. health care system.

Researchers working for Humana, an insurance company, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine calculate that between $760 billion and $935 billion is spent on waste. Fierce Healthcare, an online industry publication, notes that’s about a quarter of all U.S. health care spending.

Put another way, $1 out of every $4 Americans spend on health care is wasted.

Wow.

Where does this money go?

A pile of it, an estimated $265.6 billion, is lost in endless paperwork. Between $230 billion and $240 billion is chalked up to “pricing failures” and roughly $100 billion is wasted on what researchers call “low-value” care or “overtreatment.”

In an op-ed published by CNBC, Humana’s President and CEO writes:

“It’s a situation that needs to be addressed by the industry at a time when consumers are grappling with spiraling medical costs.”

Voices for Affordable Health wants to know how you or someone you love have been affected by rising medical costs. Do you believe some of your hard-earned dollars went to “waste?” Please share your story today.