National Health Expenditure (NHE) data projections recently released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) indicate retail medicine spending grew 3.2% in 2019 and will continue to grow in line with overall health care spending through the next decade. This follows the release of the historical spending trends in December, which showed retail prescription drug spending grew 2.5% in 2018.
Other key findings include:
- National health spending is projected to grow at an average of 5.4% annually between 2019 and 2028.
- By 2028, total national health care spending is estimated to account for nearly 20% of gross domestic product (GDP) — up from 17.7% in 2018.
- In 2019, spending on hospitals and spending on physician and clinical services increased by an estimated 5.1% and 4.4%, respectively.
- Overall patient out-of-pocket spending is projected to have increased faster in 2019 compared to the prior year, growing an estimated 3.7% compared to 2.8% in 2018.
- Each year, CMS projects spending on health care services, but in a February 2018 review of the accuracy of their projections, CMS found that the NHE estimates of retail medicine spending have often been significantly overestimated when compared to actual spending. Reflecting this continued trend, in last week’s release, CMS lowered their 2019 projection for retail prescription medicine spending growth from last year’s estimate of 4.6% to 3.2%.
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