COVID-19 Causes Unprecedented Drop in Health Care Spending

So far in 2020, spending on health care services is down 2.4% compared to 2019, marking the first time that patient care expenditures have dropped since records became available in the 1960s, according to a recent analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. In April when the first surge of coronavirus infections was at its peak, personal expenditures on health care services saw an unprecedented 31.9% decrease on an annualized basis. Among health care facilities, outpatient care centers and physicians’ offices experienced the largest drops in revenue year-to-date. The use of telemedicine services has increased dramatically during the pandemic, yet it was not large enough to offset drops in in-person care. The analysis suggested that though health care spending and utilization have rebounded, they could fall again if the current spike in COVID-19 cases causes hospitals and patients to put off elective care.

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Jinghong Chen Reporter

Jinghong produces infographics and data stories on health insurance and specialty pharmacy for AIS Health. She graduated from Missouri School of Journalism with a focus on data journalism and international reporting. Before joining AIS in 2018, she worked at WBEZ, Al Jazeera English and The New York Times Chinese.

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