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Study finds children's healthcare spending increasing
March 18th, 2015
In recent years, health care spending has taken a front seat, ushering in new federal laws such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) . With this in mind, the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) decided to study the trends in health care spending as it related to children. The results, released by HCCI in a report titled, “Children’s Health Spending: 2009-2012,” focused on the fee-for-service claims of 10.5 million children per year from 2009-2012, under the age of 19, who were privately insured.
HCCI found that employer-sponsored insurance for children increased 5.5% per year between 2009 and 2012, with the most money spent on infants and toddlers (ages 0-3) than any other age group and the most dollars spent on boys (14 and younger) than girls. Spending by gender included:
- spending for boys reached $2572;
- spending for girls reached $2296;
- out of pocket spending for boys reached $440; and
- out of pocket spending for girls reached $414.
- increased prescription spending in 2011 and 2012;
- most common drug class was central nervous system (CNS) agents (commonly used for ADHD, anxiety, and depression);
- use of CNS drugs was higher among boys in each age group; and
- generic CNS drug had double-digit growth between 2011 and 2012.
Additional study findings include:
- among infants and toddlers, per child spending was $4,446 in 2012; hospitalizations accounted for nearly 40% of spending per baby;
- among younger children and pre-teens, outpatient visits to emergency rooms declined;
- among teens, use of MHSU services grew, with use among teen girls rose from 9 admissions per 1,000 in 2010 to 11 in 2012; for teen boys, admissions rose from 7 per 1,000 in 2010 to 9 in 2012;
- out-of-pocket spending rose, with more than 17% of health care spending in children paid out of pocket; out-of-pocket spending grew the fastest in the Midwest and South;
- in 2012, spending on prescriptions for children rose 7.1%, 2.1% faster than in 2011 and 2.3% faster than in 2010, driven mainly by rising generic drug use; and
- due to federal policies, recommendations by the CDC, and benefit changes under the ACA, the study saw a 47.6% increase in meningitis vaccination rates among teens in 2011, and an additional 16.4% increase in 2012.