Report: Spending on Health Care By Americans Increased in 2021

The effects from the COVID-19 pandemic on the United States are continuing based on a new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) report released on Wednesday.

Key takeaways:
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    CMS study shows increases in spending by Americans in 2021 compared to 2020, the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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    COVID-19 leads to increases in depression and anxiety, resulting in tough challenges for Americans with limited care options.
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    Americans remained dissatisfied with health care options and costs currently available despite voice at the ballot box.

Data from CMS highlights US health care spending grew 2.7% to reach $4.3 trillion in 2021. However, this is slower than the 10.3% increase in 2020 due to the pandemic. Increased spending on medical goods and services increases were also noticed after pandemic effects waned.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to increased enrollment in Medicaid due to rising unemployment numbers and decreased users of employment provided health-care.

Impacts of COVID-19 on the U.S.

According to a West Health and Gallup study, Americans exclaimed many concerns about the healthcare system following the pandemic. It found 48% of those surveyed had negative views of the U.S. healthcare system. Also, 15% reported difficulties paying for care, with many Americans feeling uneasy over equal access to quality care in Hispanic and Black Americans.

The pandemic led to increased issues in mental health and addiction. Drug-overdose deaths climbed over 100,000 in a 12-month study concluded in April, and just a little more than one-third of drug users felt confident in maintaining an income following job-cuts or fewer opportunities.

In the same yearly range, researchers from University of Alabama at Birmingham found nearly 40% of Americans having symptoms of depression and anxiety.

The U.S economy felt the shockwave of the COVID-19 pandemic when unemployment numbers rose to nearly 15% in April 2020. While that number has decreased significantly since, more Americans have explored government options such as Medicaid and Medicare.

Medicaid vs. Medicare

Medicare is a federal health insurance plan for those over the age of 65, and in some cases for those under the age requirement. Those receiving social security for 24 months, or having End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) are eligible for Medicare as well. Individuals who have ESRD or ALS do not have to meet the 24-month period.

Unlike Medicare, Medicaid is a joint federal and state option. Availability of Medicaid varies on a state-by-state basis. Medicaid.gov provides information on medical eligibility for those seeking coverage.

Private insurance options are also very popular. Out of those eligible in the U.S. private sector, 53% take the available private insurance option available to the employer. During the COVID-19 pandemic, employer sponsored health decreased by just over 5% from January 2020 to June 2021 found in research University of Pennsylvania,

Key findings from CMS study

The CMS study released showcased increased spending by Americans on medical goods and services. The private-insurance industry displayed the highest percentage of health spending followed by Medicare, Medicaid, and out-of-pocket purchases.

Notable numbers:

  • Medicaid enrollment increased 11.2% following growth of 4.8$ percent in 2020.
  • Total out-of-pocket spending jolted 10.4% in 2021 following a decline of 2.6% in 2020.
  • 14.1% rise in Medicare private health plan spending.
  • Private health insurance enrollment slightly moved-up 0.3 percent in 2021 to reach 200.7 million.
  • Private health insurance spending rose by 5.8 percent in 2021 to $1.2 trillion.

Health insurance costs rising

Rising inflation and other economic factors are affecting health-care costs in the U.S. The majority of Americans make less than $50,000 per year, yet one-fifth of those in the U.S. making more than $120,000 believe cost of care to be too expensive. Many in the U.S. are avoiding a trip to the doctor to save a dollar in their pockets.

Some U.S. political candidates have campaigned on forms of universal health care, although none have come to fruition in the halls of Congress. While politicians play a game of tug-of-war, many Americans are left feeling hopeless for affordable quality care.

Majority of those in the U.S. believe large corporations and Congress hold the power in health-care costs. Nearly two-thirds of Americans hold that their vote is meaningless in lowering costs.

Although insurance costs are high, and options are scarce for certain U.S. citizens in specific demographics. The CMS data from 2021 shows positive signs of economic normalcy returning and Americans willing to open-up the pocket books.

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