From 2013-2017, the average annual health care spending for individuals with employer-sponsored insurance increased almost 17 percent nationwide. But some states felt the burden more than others. West Virginians with employer sponsored insurance, now have the highest per person spending. But it’s not that people are using health care more, it’s that the price is going up.
Utilization of health care services remained roughly the same from 2013-2017, but the average price for those services grew nationwide. In West Virginia about a 22 percent increase in spending during those five years while utilization only grew about a percentage and a half.
Most of the increase was driven by increased prescription drug prices and higher inpatient and outpatient fees. West Virginia’s spending on professional services, though, meaning visits to a doctor or nurse practitioners office without a facility fee like a hospital would have, was a little lower than the national average.
The data were pulled from the four largest health insurance providers in the United States and analyzed by the health research firm Health Cost Institute.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from Marshall Health and Charleston Area Medical Center.