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Spending on Shoppable Services in Health Care

This issue brief examines health care spending on shoppable services in 2011. Contrary to expectations, giving consumers prices so they can shop for health care services may only have a modest effect on reducing health spending. 

 Key Findings:

  • In 2011, about 43% of the $524.2 billion spent on health care services for commercially insured people was considered shoppable.
  • About 15%—nearly $81 billion—of the total spent on health care for the commercially insured was spent out of pocket.
  • Of the total amount spent, about 7%—$37.7 billion—was spent on shoppable services out of pocket by consumers.
  • Most out-of-pocket dollars (44%) were spent on shoppable ambulatory doctor services.