Skilled Nursing Spending Growth Slowed in 2016

Overall spending on skilled nursing care slowed in 2016, according to the most recent report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

In all, payers spent $162.7 billion on care at nursing homes and continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), an increase of 2.9% from 2015. That’s slower than the 3.7% growth between 2014 and 2015, CMS’s Office of the Actuary noted in a Wednesday release.

“Over the last decade, the U.S. has experienced unique events that have affected the health care sector, including the most severe economic recession since the Great Depression, major changes to the health care system because of the ACA and historic lows in medical price inflation,” said Micah Hartman, a statistician in the Office of the Actuary and lead author of a Health Affairs article on the results. “In 2016, the slowdown in health care spending followed significant insurance coverage expansions under the ACA and very strong growth in retail prescription drug spending in 2014 and 2015.

CMS blamed the lethargic SNF spending growth on a slowdown in both public and private health insurance outlays: Medicare spending on skilled nursing and CCRC care rose 4.0% in 2015 and just 1.2% in 2016, while private expenditures rose 5.9% last year — as compare to a sizable 14.3% in 2015.

In all, spending on health care in the United States hit $3.3 trillion in 2016, working out to $10,348 per person.

Spending on home health services also contracted in 2016, with the 4.0% gain to $92.4 billion falling short of the 5.8% growth seen in 2015. As with SNFs, the home health industry saw declines in payments from Medicaid, private health insurers, and patients’ own pockets.

Check out the full statistics on the CMS website.

Written by Alex Spanko

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Alex Spanko
Assistant Editor at Aging Media Network
Alex covers the skilled nursing and reverse mortgage industries for Aging Media. Outside of work, he reads nonfiction, yells at Mets games from his couch, and enjoys pretty much any type of whiskey or scotch — often all at once.

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