According to Altarum’s latest Health Sector Economics Brief, nursing home care was one of the fastest-growing categories of national health spending in September 2023, second only to spending on prescription drugs. The spending on nursing home care has increased by an impressive 9.8% since September 2022, thanks to a combination of price and utilization increases.
However, home care showed the slowest growth rate among major categories of national health spending in September, increasing just 5.5%. Despite the fact that home healthcare prices were growing at a fast pace, this was due to a slight decline in utilization of these services.
The report also revealed year-over-year spending growth rates for other major healthcare categories: prescription drugs grew by 11.8%, dental care by 9.8%, physician and clinical services by 8.9%, and hospital care by 6.9%. National health spending overall increased by 5.7% year over year and reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $4.78 trillion, which accounts for approximately 17.2% of gross domestic product (GDP).
While the GDP growth rate continued to outpace total health spending growth in recent months, personal healthcare spending grew at a faster rate than GDP since February 2023 and grew by an impressive 7.4% year over year in September. Nursing homes showed modest employment growth in October, adding about 4,400 jobs, while home healthcare added nearly 9,500 jobs in October – slightly above the monthly average over the past year – as mentioned by Altarum fellow and Senior Researcher George Miller.