Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
Last time we looked at where our health care funds in the US are spent. At more than one-sixth of our GDP, it’s undeniably a huge factor in our financial lives. Who pays for all this? Ultimately, of course, we all do—but the mechanisms by which this happens may surprise you.
Since non-personal spending ($407 billion) is accounted for somewhat differently at the federal level, our focus here is just on the $2.2 trillion in Personal Health Care (PHC) spending in 2010. A similar pie chart as in the previous post, but this time broken out by funding source, looks like this (figures in millions):
About one-third of PHC spending ($746 billion) is by private health insurance companies—Aetna, ‘the Blues’, Cigna, Humana, United, Wellpoint, and smaller companies. Medicare, federal health insurance for the elderly, accounts for nearly a quarter of spending ($494 billion). Medicaid, a joint federal-state program for the poor and disabled, pays for $372 billion. Of that, about two-thirds is federal, one-third from state and local sources.