[to top of second column]
Even so, the recession made itself felt throughout the health care sector in 2008, with slowdowns in out-of-pocket spending, private insurance premiums and hospital spending -- the latter largely because of loss of revenue from hospitals' investment incomes.
The slowdown in health insurance premium costs might seem counterintuitive, given the complaints of increased health care costs coming from individuals and businesses large and small. Part of the reason is because of the jobs lost in the recession, forcing people off the insurance rolls and shrinking the overall cost of premiums nationally. Enrollment in private health insurance declined from 196.4 million in 2007 to 195.4 million in 2008, the report said.
Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people 65 and older, was the only area where the rate of spending growth in 2008 was greater than in 2007. That's partly because Medicare recipients are largely out of the work force and therefore more insulated from the recession. Medicare hospital spending grew, and more patients shifted into privately run Medicare Advantage plans, which offer better benefits than traditional fee-for-service Medicare but also cost more.
The recession also had the effect of shifting a greater share of health spending onto the federal government, which has sent billions to states to help them with their share of Medicaid costs. Medicaid enrollment in 2008 rose along with unemployment, but overall spending on Medicaid services slowed anyway as cash-strapped states scrimped on costs.
On the Net:
Health Affairs: http://www.healthaffairs.org/
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
< Recent articles
Back to top
News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries
Law & Courts |
Spiritual Life |
Health & Fitness |
Calendar | Letters to the Editor