Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Spending and Payment Options in the U.S.
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Out of pocket health care expenditures represent a rapidly growing burden for consumers, both in terms of their increasing size and the lack of financing options to available to address them. While finance companies have rushed to provide credit for discretionary medical expenses, few funding sources are available to consumers needing money to pay for medically necessary procedures. These consumers often must rely on regular credit cards, then turn to other sources such as home equity, retirement savings and friends and family when they reach their credit limit. To a limited extent, health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts have helped consumers save money to meet their medical expenses, but the need for additional solutions far outweighs these programs’ capacity. Retail clinics, which offer basic medical services at affordable prices in a retail setting, have also helped somewhat, but cannot address expenses related to high cost medical treatments.
This report analyzes out-of-pocket health care spending by U.S. consumers and the resulting U.S. market for health care financing services. It specifically covers spending on elective and non-elective procedures in the following market segments:
- Credit card
- Loans and lines of credit
- Medical financing programs
- Health savings accounts (HSAs)
- Flexible spending accounts (FSAs)
Data sources tapped for this report include the following:
- Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured
- Kaiser Family Foundation
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
- U.S. Department of Labor, Labor Statistics
- Demos and The Access Project, “Borrowing to Stay Healthy,” January 2007
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Medicaid Expenditure Panel surveys
- Center for Studying Health System Change
- Hewitt Associates
- Corporate reports and other corporate publications
- Miscellaneous trade journals, publications, websites