The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary has studied patterns of health spending in the states, producing data known as the State Health Expenditure Accounts. A new study, released by Health Affairs as a Web First, presents highlights from the latest data set, which covers 1991 to 2014, a period that included the initial implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as well as an economic recession and subsequent recovery.
According to the study, which examines health spending by state and enrollee, as well as spending for the three largest payers (Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance), the national average growth rate during during these years was 3.1 percent, ranging from an annual average of 1.9 percent in Arizona to 4.8 percent in Alaska. The 2014 national average per capita spending was $8,045; spending ranged from $5,982 in Utah to $11,064 in Alaska.
“Over this period, clear state-specific impacts can be observed with regard to amounts of spending by payer and rates of spending growth because of economic and health-sector factors,” the authors concluded. “Still, the variation in overall health care spending by state, measured as the ratio between maximum and minimum per capita health spending levels, remained virtually unchanged during these years. As a result, there was minimal movement in the relative rankings of overall per capita health spending by state.”