National Health Care Spending In 2018: Growth Driven By Accelerations In Medicare And Private Insurance Spending

Health Aff (Millwood). 2020 Jan;39(1):8-17. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2019.01451. Epub 2019 Dec 5.


US health care spending increased 4.6 percent to reach $3.6 trillion in 2018, a faster growth rate than the rate of 4.2 percent in 2017 but the same rate as in 2016. The share of the economy devoted to health care spending declined to 17.7 percent in 2018, compared to 17.9 percent in 2017. The 0.4-percentage-point acceleration in overall growth in 2018 was driven by faster growth in both private health insurance and Medicare, which were influenced by the reinstatement of the health insurance tax. For personal health care spending (which accounted for 84 percent of national health care spending), growth in 2018 remained unchanged from 2017 at 4.1 percent. The total number of uninsured people increased by 1.0 million for the second year in a row, to reach 30.7 million in 2018.

Keywords: Cost growth; Costs and spending; Federal health plans; Health policy; Medicaid; Medicaid services; Medicare; National health expenditures; Payment; Private health insurance.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / economics*
  • Gross Domestic Product / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Expenditures*
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health / economics*
  • Medicare / economics*
  • Private Sector*
  • United States