Alaska's Health-Care Bill: $7.5 Billion and Climbing

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

Health Care pie chart

Health-care spending in Alaska reached about $7.5 billion in 2010, according to new estimates by Scott Goldsmith of ISER and Mark Foster of Mark A. Foster and Associates. For comparison, that's close to half the wellhead value of all the oil produced in Alaska in 2010. The definition of health-care spending is broad, including not only spending for hospitals, doctors and medical tests, but also prescriptions, nursing homes, medical equipment and more. The researchers found the following:

  • Health-care spending in Alaska increased 40 percent between 2005 and 2010, up from $5.3 billion to $7.5 billion.
  • Individual Alaskans directly paid about 20 percent of the health-care bill, state and federal health programs 40 percent, and private and government employers 40 percent.
  • A combination of things is driving health-care spending in Alaska and nationwide: new technology, income growth, medical-price inflation, changing insurance coverage and a growing, aging population.
  • At current trends, health-care spending in Alaska could nearly double by 2020, climbing to more than $14 billion. Controlling that growth will be a big challenge.

Download the 12-page report here or direct questions to Scott Goldsmith, UAA Professor of Economics, or Mark Foster of Mark A. Foster and Associates.

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