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Report Finds U.S. Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Spending Increases By 10% To $491 Billion

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In 2021, total U.S. out-of-pocket healthcare spending by consumers reached an estimated $491.6 billion, up about 10% from the prior year with continued annual growth of 9.9% expected through 2026. This will result in almost $800 billion of consumer out-of-pocket healthcare spending in 2026, reports medical market research publisher Kalorama Information in the recent study Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Expenditures in the United States, 5th Edition.

Over the years, U.S. consumers’ annual out-of-pocket healthcare costs have risen from about $250 per person in 1980 to $1,650 in 2021, with yearly increases of about $40 to $50. Increases for health plan premiums, in particular, have outpaced increases in overall prices and workers’ earnings. Consumers have noticed this trend and are becoming increasingly concerned with their ability to pay for the costs of illness. And for the lowest wage earners, these healthcare costs have become astronomical.

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