Family Health Care Cost
High health care costs often leave parents with fewer resources to devote toward the health and well-being of their families. In a Culture of Health, more families would be able to afford the care they need and health care would not overburden a family’s budget.
Each month, a typical family of four spends $1,745 on out-of-pocket health care expenses, including employer/employee premium contributions, out-of-pocket spending, and taxes devoted to health care. A childless, non-elderly couple spends $1,351 each month on out-of-pocket health care expenses.
Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation Employee Benefits Report, 2014; Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Medical Expenditure Survey; Congressional Budget Office, 2013; National Association of State Budget Offices, 2013
Preventable Hospitalization Rates
In a Culture of Health, fewer people would turn to hospitals for non-emergency care. A decrease in the number of preventable hospitalizations would indicate that more people are managing their health before urgent care is needed. Engaging in prevention and health promotion activities, as well as seeking appropriate care, can help reduce health care costs.
The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project shares comprehensive hospital data—including information on preventable hospitalizations—that researchers and policymakers can use to evaluate health care outcomes over time.
End-of-Life Care Expenditures
A driving force behind the high cost of health care is the amount spent in the last year of life, which is particularly high for people on Medicare. As a result, some people are moving away from hospitals and toward home or hospice care to reduce costs and receive care in a more comfortable and familiar setting.
The Medicare Master Beneficiary Summary File (MBSF) includes data about the average total health expenditures for Medicare beneficiaries in the last year of life—the biggest driver of end-of-life costs was inpatient care.