CMS Releases 2018 National Health Expenditures

Total national healthcare spending in 2018 grew 4.6 percent, which was slower than the 5.4 percent overall economic growth as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to a study conducted by the Office of the Actuary at CMS.

As a result, the share of the economy devoted to health spending decreased from 17.9 percent in 2017 to 17.7 percent in 2018. Growth in overall healthcare spending has averaged 4.5 percent for 2016-2018, slower than the 5.5 percent average growth for 2014-2015, that was affected by expanded Medicaid and private insurance coverage and increased spending for prescription drugs, particularly for drugs used to treat hepatitis C. The growth in total national healthcare expenditures was approximately 0.4 percentage point higher than the rate in 2017 and reached $3.6 trillion in 2018, or $11,172 per person.

According to the report, private health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid experienced faster growth in 2018. The faster growth for these payers was influenced by the reinstatement of the health insurance tax which was applied to private health insurance, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid Managed care plans. The health insurance tax was a fee imposed on all health insurance providers beginning in 2014 as a part of the funding for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and was subsequently amended to institute a one-year moratorium on the fee for 2017.

For more details, see the press release from CMS.