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

Jinghong Chen Reporter

Jinghong has been producing infographics and data stories on employer-sponsored insurance, public health insurance programs and prescription drug coverage for AIS Health’s Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits since 2018. She also manages AIS Health’s annual executive compensation database for top insurers and Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliates. Before joining AIS Health, she interned at WBEZ, Al Jazeera English and The New York Times Chinese. She graduated from Missouri School of Journalism with a focus on data journalism and international reporting.

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