Officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) — the federal agency that runs Medicare, Medicaid and the public health insurance exchange system — have updated the National Health Expenditure projections the agency uses for planning its own activities.
The United States spent a total of $3 trillion, or 17.5 percent of gross domestic product, on health care in 2014, the last year for which hard numbers are available, according to Sean Keehan, an economist at the CMS Office of the Actuary, and other economists and actuaries at the Office of the Actuary.
The forecasters estimate overall national expenditures increased 5.5 percent in 2015, to $3.2 trillion, or 17.8 percent of 2015 GDP, and that spending will increase 4.8 percent over 2015 levels this year, to $3.35 trillion, or 18.1 percent of GDP.
They see spending increasing to a total of about $4 trillion, or 18.5 percent of GDP, in 2019, and $5.6 billion, or 20.1 percent of GDP, in 2025.
The forecasters are estimate spending will rise 5.7 percent in 2019 and 6 percent in 2025, in part because of an increase in the average age of the population.
The forecasters published their projections in an article published behind a paywall on the website of Health Affairs, an academic journal that focuses on health care delivery and health care finance systems.
Increases in health care spending have been smaller in recent years than in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
But the government’s share of spending spiked around 2008 and 2009, in part because of the expansion of government health programs related to the response to the “Great Recession.”
For a look at some more details from the report that might be useful in an insurance agent or broker’s presentation slidedecks, read on:
Medicare and Medicaid alone could account for about 47 percent of national health expenditures in 2025, the government forecasters say. (Image: Thinkstock)
1. How government and private payers might split the tab
The forecasters say the federal government’s share of national health expenditures increased to 28 percent of the total in 2014, from 23 percent in 2007, the earliest year shown, and could increase to 30 percent in 2025.
State governments’ share has held steady at about 17 percent and could continue to be 17 percent in 2025.
Private employers’ share has fallen to 20 percent in 2014, from 22 percent in 2007, and could shrink to 18 percent in 2025.
Private households’ share fell to 28 percent, from 30 percent, and could hold steady at 27 percent over the next few years.
2. What might happen to public and private plan enrollment
The government forecasters lump traditional individual coverage, employer-sponsored coverage and Affordable Care Act public exchange plan coverage together under the heading of “private health insurance” in the new report.
They say private plan enrollment fell to 189.9 million in 2014, from 197.5 million in 2007, but they expect the total to rise to 204.4 million in 2025.
Enrollment in Medicare and Medicaid increased to about 119 million in 2014, from 89 million in 2007, and it could rise again, to 150 million, in 2025.
The number of uninsured people fell to 35.5 million in 2014, from 41.1 million seven years earlier, and could fall further, to 28.4 million, in 2025.