Nationwide personal spending jumped 10% in 2021. Expect this growth to continue through 2026
Direct consumer spending on health care is expected to reach about $ 491.6 billion, or about $ 1,650 per person, in the United States, according to a recent report.
This number represents an increase of about 10% from last year’s total and is expected to maintain a continuous annual growth rate of 9.9% over the next five years, according to the Market Research Group on health care Kalorama Information.
That will give an annual personal spending total of just under $ 800 billion by 2026, the group said.
Kalorama highlighted a handful of government, business and demographic trends that are expected to push direct consumer spending outward in a statement summarizing the full report.
On the public side, the group called for repealing the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, shifting costs to managed care organizations and other “various policy changes that make healthcare more expensive “.
Individuals will also spend more to fight obesity, aging and other chronic diseases such as mental illness and addiction, while seeing cuts in their public and private health coverage, Kalorama wrote.
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At the same time, the research group predicts that total spending will be controlled by more generic and over-the-counter (OTC) drug options, increasing use of disease management programs, and the spread of franchise health plans. high.
The group also expects greater economic forces to play a role in individual behavior.
âWage growth will continue to outweigh increases in health care costs, and as consumers cannot afford the increasing spending, they will increasingly forgo treatments and / or seek cheaper options such as generic or over-the-counter drugs, âKalorama wrote in a statement. âThe economic effects of the COVID pandemic will dampen spending further, but not significantly. “
The overall increase in out-of-pocket spending goes hand in hand with another recently highlighted trend: consumer medical debt.
A July study published in JAMA described a decline in Americans’ medical debt over the past decade, but also noted that these missed payments are now the largest contributor to personal debt in the United States.
The medical debt and the increase in out-of-pocket payments lead everyone to skip preventive care or postpone necessary treatments. These behaviors often worsen the results and ultimately lead to higher expenses throughout the healthcare system.