Health Care Spending Data Released 

Situation Report | December 21, 2020

Total national health care spending in 2019 grew 4.6 percent, which was similar to the 4.7 percent growth in 2018 and the average annual growth since 2016 of 4.5 percent, according to a study conducted by the Office of the Actuary at the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

This report includes health expenditure data though 2019 and, therefore, does not include any effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on health care spending.

Medicare spending (21 percent of total health care spending) grew 6.7 percent to reach $799.4 billion in 2019, which was slightly faster than the 6.3 percent growth in 2018. The acceleration in 2019 reflected faster growth in Medicare private health plan spending (39 percent of total Medicare expenditures in 2019), which increased 14.5 percent following growth of 12.6 percent in 2018.

Growth in fee-for-service Medicare expenditures slowed in 2019, increasing 2.2 percent compared to 3 percent in 2018. Overall, Medicare enrollment growth was steady in 2019, increasing 2.6 percent, which was the same rate as in 2018.

Spending for services provided by freestanding home health care agencies increased 7.7 percent in 2019, a higher rate than in 2018 (5.5 percent), to $113.5 billion. While out-of-pocket spending grew at about half of its 2018 rate, spending through Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance all grew at faster rates in 2019 compared to the previous year. Notably, Medicare and Medicaid together comprise 71 percent of home health spending in 2019.

Medicaid spending (16 percent of total health care spending) increased 2.9 percent in 2019 to reach $613.5 billion. This was similar to the 3.1 percent rate of growth in 2018.