It seems counter intuitive, but US health spending appears to have declined in 2020 by 2%. That the first decline since 1960.
- Hospital care, the largest component, was 7% lower in 2020 than in 2019.
- Dental services dropped 20% in 2020.
- Some services were temporarily curtailed, and patients avoided seeking care to avoid exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
- Spending on prescription drugs and home health care actually increased for the year, the latter likely related to individuals selecting home care rather than nursing homes to avoid exposure.(1)
The obvious question: Will we see a bounce-back in 2021 as people have the work done that they postponed? Or will people decide simply to forego what they didn’t do last year? That’s a particular issue for cosmetic surgeries and dentistry. With masks covering much of the face, are they still that important?