March 25, 2010
In 2008, Consumer Expenditure Survey estimates of aggregate health care expenditures (excluding health insurance premiums, nursing home care, nonprescription drugs, nonprescription vitamins, and topical and dressings) totaled $138.5 billion.
Out-of-pocket hospital care expenditures—spending for inpatient hospital rooms and services provided by facilities such as general-care hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, substance abuse hospitals, and birthing centers, plus outpatient/emergency room care—were $21.1 billion in 2008.
Out-of-pocket expenditures for all services provided and billed by physicians were $22.0 billion.
Spending on dental services was $30.7 billion.
Expenditures for other professional services—for example, the services of chiropractors, acupuncturists, marriage counselors, nurse practitioners, podiatrists, physical therapists, psychologists, substance abuse professionals, and certified medical massage therapists—were $11.2 billion.
Prescription drugs spending was $43.0 billion in 2008; medical supplies spending, for items such as hearing aids, eyeglasses and contact lenses, $10.5 billion.
These data are from the Consumer Expenditure Survey, which collects information about out-of-pocket spending on health care and other expenses from consumer units throughout the United States. A comparison of Consumer Expenditure health care data and data from other sources appears in "Out-of-pocket health care expenditures: a comparison" (PDF) in the Monthly Labor Review, February 2010 issue.