Kids are going to the doctor's office and emergency rooms less often, and even using fewer prescription drugs — but overall health spending on children is still going up.
A study released Monday by the Health Care Cost Institute indicates that price increases for health services and brand-name drugs were the biggest drivers of higher overall medical spending on kids from 2010 through 2014.
During that time period, per capita spending on health care for children covered by job-based insurance plans grew at an annual average rate of 5.1 percent, rising from $2,356 per child in 2010 to $2,660 per kid by 2014, HCCI said. By comparison, the overall spending on persons under the age of 65 in 2014 was $4,967 per person, according to HCCI.
Out-of-pocket health spending — money that has to be personally paid, instead of by an insurance plan — on health care for children grew by an annual average percentage of 5.5 percent during the same time frame, starting at $381 per capita in 2010 and ending at $472 per child in 2014.