Saving here & there: How health costs get tamed

Healthcare spending increased 3.6 percent in 2013, down from 2012’s 4.1 percent growth rate. Here’s a look at what contributed to the slowdown.

Economists and statisticians from the actuarial offices at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the National Health Statistics Group published results of their annual number crunching in the January issue of Health Affairs. Overall spending totaled $2.9 trillion in 2013, or $9,255 per person. Between 2012 and 2013:

  • Health spending as a share of the gross national product held steady at 17.4 percent
  • Medicare spending slowed from 4 percent to 3.4 percent
  • Medicaid spending increased from 4 percent to 6.1 percent
  • Growth in private insurance spending for hospital services skidded from 7.5 percent to 4 percent
  • Growth in medical prices (physicians, clinical services, hospital care, etc.) fell from 1.6 percent to 1.3 percent
  • Spending for physician services slowed from an increase of 4.1 percent to 3.7 percent
  • Spending for clinical services slowed from 6.1 percent to 4.1 percent
  • Growth in the use and intensity of services dipped from 1.2 percent to 1 percent
  • Growth in hospital prices slowed from 2.5 percent to 2.3 percent