Personal Health Care Expenses Have Risen by 5,039% Since 1970 to $3.2 Trillion

In 1970, personal health care expenditures totaled $62 billion. Nearly 50 years later — in…

In 1970, personal health care expenditures totaled $62 billion. Nearly 50 years later — in 2019 — spending equaled $3.2 trillion, increasing 5,039%. Expenditures have been at least $1 trillion since 2000, when they were at $1.2 trillion.

Looking more closely at these numbers allows researchers to better understand the effects on consumers. According to the CMS, personal health care costs refer to money spent out of pocket and by health insurers and other third-party contributors. Only a portion of the $3.2 trillion spent in 2019 came out of consumers’ pockets, but expenses were still vast.

Between 1970 and 2019, out-of-pocket costs increased by 1,580% from $24 billion to $407 billion.

1970 $62 $24 39%
1980 $214 $55 26%
1990 $612 $134 22%
2000 $1,157 $193 17%
2001 $1,257 $201 16%
2002 $1,366 $219 16%
2003 $1,366 $235 17%
2004 $1,588 $249 16%
2005 $1,698 $265 16%
2006 $1,809 $278 15%
2007 $1,922 $293 15%
2008 $2,008 $300 15%

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The amount of public money spent also grew rapidly during this period. Medicare spending rose by 10,073% — $7 billion to $743 billion — while Medicaid rose from $5 billion to $550 billion, or by 10,892%. Combined Medicaid and Medicare spending for prescription drugs has also increased since 1970. Combined expenses grew from less than $1 billion in 1970 to $136 billion in 2019 — an increase of 33,900%.

The retail cost of prescription drugs rose for all sources of health care payments during this time, not just Medicare and Medicaid. In all, drug-related expenses rose 6,622% from $6 billion to $370 billion by 2019. Consumers paid 10 times more for prescription medications in 2019 than they did in 1970 ($54 billion, up from $5 billion). And private insurers shelled out 32,820% more for medications after 50 years — $165 billion by the end of 2019, up from $1 billion in 1970.

Other segments of health care-related spending also indicate steep mounting expenses since 1970. Expenses from physicians and clinical services grew by 5,299%, while hospital spending rose by 4,282%. Dwarfing both of these were expenditures from home health services, which increased by 56,650% from less than $1 billion to $114 billion by 2019. And even dental care expenditures increased by 2,947%.

“backgroundColor”:”white”,”content”:”u003C/pu003Ennu003Cpu003EIn 1970, personal health care expenditures totaled $62 billion. Nearly 50 years later u2014 in 2019 u2014 spending equaled $3.2 trillion, increasing 5,039%. Expenditures have been at least $1 trillion since 2000, when they were at $1.2 trillion.u003C/pu003Ennu003Cpu003ELooking more closely at these numbers allows researchers to better understand the effects on consumers. According to the CMS, personal health care costs refer to money spent out of pocket and by health insurers and other third-party contributors. Only a portion of the $3.2 trillion spent in 2019 came out of consumers’ pockets, but expenses were still vast.u003C/pu003Ennu003Cpu003Eu003Cdiv class=”ShortcodePullquote–root”u003En u003Cp class=”ShortcodePullquote–text ShortcodePullquote–blue”u003En nBetween 1970 and 2019, out-of-pocket costs increased by 1,580% from $24 billion to $407 billion.nn u003C/pu003Enu003C/divu003Eu003C/pu003Ennu003Cpu003Eu003Cdiv class=”ReactComponent–root”u003En u003Cdiv class=”js-react-component-rendered js-react-component-SortableTable” data-component-name=”SortableTable”u003En u003Cdiv class=”StyledRootWrapper-sc-3qeib4 jYHfZo”u003Eu003Cdiv class=”StyledTableWrapper-sc-5nmmx9 fesmOM”u003Eu003Cdiv class=”StyledTableOverflowWrapper-sc-hixhp9 gVbnK”u003Eu003Ctable class=”StyledTable-sc-ujzn9t jVpJxq”u003Eu003Cthead class=”StyledHeaderRow-sc-1m1b8dn cBFLrt”u003Eu003Ctru003Eu003Cth width=”” colSpan=”1″ class=”StyledHeaderCell-sc-nsptsd gkalnJ”u003Eu003Cdiv class=”StyledColumnHeaderWrapper-sc-12xyb2r gPTwhA”u003Eu003Cspanu003EYearu003C/spanu003Eu003C/divu003Eu003C/thu003Eu003Cth width=”” colSpan=”1″ class=”StyledHeaderCell-sc-nsptsd gkalnJ”u003Eu003Cdiv class=”StyledColumnHeaderWrapper-sc-12xyb2r glLrYA”u003Eu003Cspanu003EPersonal health care costs (in billions)u003C/spanu003Eu003C/divu003Eu003C/thu003Eu003Cth width=”” colSpan=”1″ class=”StyledHeaderCell-sc-nsptsd gkalnJ”u003Eu003Cdiv class=”StyledColumnHeaderWrapper-sc-12xyb2r glLrYA”u003Eu003Cspanu003EOut of pocket (in billions)u003C/spanu003Eu003C/divu003Eu003C/thu003Eu003Cth width=”” colSpan=”1″ class=”StyledHeaderCell-sc-nsptsd gkalnJ”u003Eu003Cdiv class=”StyledColumnHeaderWrapper-sc-12xyb2r glLrYA”u003Eu003Cspanu003EOut-of-pocket shareu003C/spanu003Eu003C/divu003Eu003C/thu003Eu003C/tru003Eu003C/theadu003Eu003Ctbody class=”StyledBody-sc-14y8oc0 dcdMVT”u003Eu003Ctru003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee XfhRD”u003E1970u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$62u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$24u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E39%u003C/tdu003Eu003C/tru003Eu003Ctru003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee XfhRD”u003E1980u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$214u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$55u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E26%u003C/tdu003Eu003C/tru003Eu003Ctru003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee XfhRD”u003E1990u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$612u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$134u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E22%u003C/tdu003Eu003C/tru003Eu003Ctru003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee XfhRD”u003E2000u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$1,157u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$193u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E17%u003C/tdu003Eu003C/tru003Eu003Ctru003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee XfhRD”u003E2001u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$1,257u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$201u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E16%u003C/tdu003Eu003C/tru003Eu003Ctru003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee XfhRD”u003E2002u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$1,366u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$219u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E16%u003C/tdu003Eu003C/tru003Eu003Ctru003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee XfhRD”u003E2003u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$1,366u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$235u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E17%u003C/tdu003Eu003C/tru003Eu003Ctru003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee XfhRD”u003E2004u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$1,588u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$249u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E16%u003C/tdu003Eu003C/tru003Eu003Ctru003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee XfhRD”u003E2005u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$1,698u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$265u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E16%u003C/tdu003Eu003C/tru003Eu003Ctru003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee XfhRD”u003E2006u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$1,809u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$278u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E15%u003C/tdu003Eu003C/tru003Eu003Ctru003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee XfhRD”u003E2007u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$1,922u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$293u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E15%u003C/tdu003Eu003C/tru003Eu003Ctru003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee XfhRD”u003E2008u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$2,008u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E$300u003C/tdu003Eu003Ctd colSpan=”1″ rowspan=”1″ width=”” class=”StyledBodyCell-sc-5cu9ee frAYUA”u003E15%u003C/tdu003Eu003C/tru003Eu003C/tbodyu003Eu003C/tableu003Eu003C/divu003Eu003C/divu003Eu003Cdiv role=”button” class=”StyledExpander-sc-1gnrutu ckEygv”u003EShow All Rowsu003C/divu003Eu003C/divu003En u003C/divu003Enn u003Cscript type=”application/json” class=”js-react-component” data-component-name=”SortableTable”u003E”alignsHorizontal”:[“left”,”right”,”right”,”right”],”alignsVertical”:[],”columnWidths”:[],”data”:[[“Year”,”Personal health care costs (in billions)”,”Out of pocket (in billions)”,”Out-of-pocket share”],[“1970″,”$62″,”$24″,”39%”],[“1980″,”$214″,”$55″,”26%”],[“1990″,”$612″,”$134″,”22%”],[“2000″,”$1,157″,”$193″,”17%”],[“2001″,”$1,257″,”$201″,”16%”],[“2002″,”$1,366″,”$219″,”16%”],[“2003″,”$1,366″,”$235″,”17%”],[“2004″,”$1,588″,”$249″,”16%”],[“2005″,”$1,698″,”$265″,”16%”],[“2006″,”$1,809″,”$278″,”15%”],[“2007″,”$1,922″,”$293″,”15%”],[“2008″,”$2,008″,”$300″,”15%”],[“2009″,”$2,107″,”$297″,”14%”],[“2010″,”$2,182″,”$301″,”14%”],[“2011″,”$2,255″,”$310″,”14%”],[“2012″,”$2,347″,”$323″,”14%”],[“2013″,”$2,409″,”$330″,”14%”],[“2014″,”$2,534″,”$340″,”13%”],[“2015″,”$2,686″,”$354″,”13%”],[“2016″,”$2,814″,”$367″,”13%”],[“2017″,”$2,928″,”$375″,”13%”],[“2018″,”$3,048″,”$389″,”13%”],[“2019″,”$3,207″,”$407″,”13%”]],”footnote”:””,”hasMarginBottom”:true,”isExpandable”:true,”isSortable”:false,”maxWidth”:”1215″,”minWidth”:”100%”,”showSearch”:false,”sortColumnIndex”:0,”sortDirection”:”asc”u003C/scriptu003Ennu003C/divu003Eu003C/pu003Ennu003Cpu003EThe amount of public money spent also grew rapidly during this period. Medicare spending rose by 10,073% u2014 $7 billion to $743 billion u2014 while Medicaid rose from $5 billion to $550 billion, or by 10,892%. Combined Medicaid and u003Cspanu003Eu003Ca class=”ShortcodeLink–root ShortcodeLink–black” title=”Medicare Part D: How Does It Work?” href=”https://www.valuepenguin.com/medicare-part-d”u003EMedicare spending for prescription drugsu003C/au003Eu003C/spanu003E has also increased since 1970. Combined expenses grew from less than $1 billion in 1970 to $136 billion in 2019 u2014 an increase of 33,900%.u003C/pu003Ennu003Cpu003EThe retail cost of prescription drugs rose for all sources of health care payments during this time, not just u003Cspanu003Eu003Ca class=”ShortcodeLink–root ShortcodeLink–black” title=”What Is the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid” href=”https://www.valuepenguin.com/medicare-vs-medicaid”u003EMedicare and Medicaidu003C/au003Eu003C/spanu003E. In all, drug-related expenses rose 6,622% from $6 billion to $370 billion by 2019. Consumers paid 10 times more for prescription medications in 2019 than they did in 1970 ($54 billion, up from $5 billion). And private insurers shelled out 32,820% more for medications after 50 years u2014 $165 billion by the end of 2019, up from $1 billion in 1970.u003C/pu003Ennu003Cpu003EOther segments of health care-related spending also indicate steep mounting expenses since 1970. Expenses from physicians and clinical services grew by 5,299%, while hospital spending rose by 4,282%. Dwarfing both of these were expenditures from home health services, which increased by 56,650% from less than $1 billion to $114 billion by 2019. And even dental care expenditures increased by 2,947%.u003C/pu003Ennu003Cpu003Eu003Cdiv class=”ShortcodeImageResponsive–root”u003En u003Cfigure class=”ShortcodeImage–root”u003En u003Cpicture class=”ShortcodeImage–picture”u003En u003Csourcen media=”(max-width: 1032.75px)”n data-srcset=”http://res.cloudinary.com/value-penguin/image/upload/c_limit,dpr_1.0,f_auto,h_1600,q_auto,w_1600/v1/national-health-expenditure-m_cjqwde 1x, http://res.cloudinary.com/value-penguin/image/upload/c_limit,dpr_2.0,f_auto,h_1600,q_auto,w_1600/v1/national-health-expenditure-m_cjqwde 2x”n/u003En u003Cimg alt=”Health expenditures by type and year” class=”lazyload” data-src=”http://res.cloudinary.com/value-penguin/image/upload/c_limit,dpr_1.0,f_auto,h_1600,q_auto,w_1600/v1/national-health-expenditure_reywm9″ src=”http://res.cloudinary.com/value-penguin/image/upload/c_limit,dpr_2.0,e_blur:1000,f_auto,h_1600,q_1,w_1600/v1/national-health-expenditure_reywm9″ data-srcset=”http://res.cloudinary.com/value-penguin/image/upload/c_limit,dpr_1.0,f_auto,h_1600,q_auto,w_1600/v1/national-health-expenditure_reywm9 1x, http://res.cloudinary.com/value-penguin/image/upload/c_limit,dpr_2.0,f_auto,h_1600,q_auto,w_1600/v1/national-health-expenditure_reywm9 2x”u003En u003C/pictureu003En u003C/figureu003Enu003C/divu003Enu003C/pu003Ennu003Cpu003E”,”padding”:”double”