Increases in home health care spending might slow this year, but home health spending has grown quickly in recent years and is likely to grow quickly over the next decade.
Health care cost forecasters at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have published figures reflecting that assessment in the new National Health Expenditure report.
Health Affairs, an academic journal that focuses on health care delivery and health care finance systems, published the article, behind a paywall, here.
The forecasters have firm spending data only for 2014 and earlier years. The numbers for 2015 and 2016 are estimates.
The forecasters say long-term care services accounted for $239 billion of the $3 trillion the country spent on health care in 2014. Overall health care spending was 5.3 percent higher than in 2013, and long-term care spending was 4 percent higher.
Home health care led to $83 billion of the spending and increased 4.8 percent. Nursing home spending totaled $156 billion but rose just 3.6 percent.
The forecasters think that overall long-term care spending probably increased 4.6 percent in 2015 and will increase 4.8 percent this year. Overall health spending may have increased 5.5 percent last year and might go up 4.8 percent this year.
In the future, the forecasters say, home health spending will rise faster than nursing home spending.
They show home health spending rising 5.8 percent in 2019 and 6.5 percent in 2025.
Nursing home spending might grow just 5.3 percent in 2019 and 5.7 percent in 2015.
Forecasters did not say why they think home health spending will increase more slowly this year than they think nursing home spending will increase.
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