Use of healthcare services decline, spending grows 3.4% in 2014

Over the study period, per capita spending growth was relatively steady, rising between three and four percent each year.

Spending on healthcare for the privately insured in the United States grew at a steady rate over the past 5 years, increasing 3.4% in 2014, according to a new report.

This comes despite a steady decline in healthcare services.

The study, "2014 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report" and reported by the Health Care Cost Institute, reveals that despite a nearly 16 percent decrease in use of brand prescriptions, spending on these prescriptions jumped by $45 per capita in 2014-an increase four times larger than in 2013. Much of this increase was due to use of high-priced Hepatitis C drugs Olysio, Sovaldi, and Harvoni, which became available starting in late 2013.

"It's striking to see the impact high priced drugs can have on health care spending, particularly in the case of three Hepatitis C drugs, where use is relatively low," said HCCI Senior Researcher Amanda Frost. "With more high-priced drugs set to enter the market, higher spending on brand prescriptions is a potential trend to watch."

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