U.S. News Health Care Index – US News

U.S. News Health Care Index – US News

The new annual index measures health care’s changing impact on the U.S. economy.

By Lindsey Cook, Kimberly Leonard, Matt Mason and Robert Morse | May 7, 2015

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The U.S. News & World Report Health Care Index tracks movements in health care expenditures, medical costs, insurance coverage, health industry employment, international comparisons and health care education in the United States since 2000.

Like other well-known indices, such as the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the Consumer Price Index, the U.S. News Health Care Index uses a base year to measure annual changes against.

U.S. News gathered thousands of data points to create the index, organizing them into eight separate sub-indices measuring changes in health care employment in the United States, health care degrees granted at the college undergraduate and graduate levels, U.S. health care expenditures, the percent of Americans with health insurance, changes in health care medical costs at the consumer level, health care insurance premiums, health care insurance deductibles and comparing United States health care expenditures with the health care expenditures of other developed nations.

Each sub-index was given a different weight in the overall index with the highest weights given to the broadest measures. Since data go through 2013, the index doesn’t yet reflect changes to the health system mandated under the Affordable Care Act.

Tap the slices of the pie once to bring up labels. Tap again to navigate to that sub-index.

The Health Care Index shows a steady trend upward between 2000 and 2013. The largest components – expenditures and employment – drive the trend, with the deductibles index responsible for the largest increase, as the cost of deductibles skyrocket and more Americans enroll in health plans with a deductible.

Across all sub-indices, two themes emerge: the growing payment toward services for seniors and the increase in government-sponsored health care, including Medicare and Medicaid, which have grown at a faster rate than private health insurance. Both of these trends are expected to increase as the baby boomers continue to age and data come in from states who have expanded Medicaid.

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