U.S. Health Care Trends

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Story Updated: Nov 14, 2013

S. trends.

Some surprising results from a new analysis of the U.S. healthcare system.

Researchers used publicly available data to identify trends from 1980 to 2011.

All of our information comes from publicly available sources. That's a very important point this is freely available information although the challenge was to compile it in a way that was interpretable.

On the economic front, health care increased faster than any other industry. Costs tripled over the past two decades, but the average rate of increase has declined sharply since the early 2000s.

While older Americans and baby boomers are often blamed for rising health care costs, it's not the demand for services that's the problem according to the study. Professional services, prescription drugs, medical devices and administration produced 91 percent of the price hikes since 2000.

Chronic illnesses account for 84 percent of costs overall but surprisingly it's not only the elderly, but younger patients under the age of 65 who account for that spending.

How about the cost of insurance?

Personal out-of-pocket spending on insurance premiums and copayments actually declined from 23 percent to 11 percent since 1980.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV your source for ideas to protect your health.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com