How have medical expenses varied over time and between states? This is the question posed by Johnson et al. (2022) in a recent Health affairs paper. The authors use data from state health spending accounts between 1999 and 2014 and then extrapolate these forward trends with a regression-based approach to predict state spending through 2019. Using this approach, the authors find that:
In 2019, state-specific per capita spending ranged from $ 7,250 to $ 14,500. After adjusting for inflation, the annualized growth in per capita spending for each state ranged from 1.0% in Washington, DC, to 4.2% in South Dakota between 2013 and 2019. the greatest variation between states was in incomes (25.3%) and consumer prices (21.7 per cent). The expansion of Medicaid has been associated with increasing total spending per capita, although the median of spending in the expanding states showed slower growth in living spending than the median in the non-expanding states.
The top 5 states with the highest per capita health spending were Alaska, District of Columbia, New York, South Dakota and West Virginia. The 5 states with the lowest per capita health expenditure were Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and Idaho. Interestingly, Alaska had the highest share of spending coming from out-of-pocket expenses (40%).
Read the full document for more interesting statistics.