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Hospitals make up the smallest part of out-of-pocket health costs

Data: Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

We spend more on hospital care than any other type of health care service, but hospitals make up the smallest amount of out-of-pocket spending.

Why it matters: That means insurers are passing on a smaller percentage of hospital costs to enrollees, although they indirectly pay for hospital care through premiums.

Between the lines:

  • "A big role of patient cost-sharing is to discourage use of inappropriate or unnecessary services. So much of hospital care is non-discretionary from the perspective of patients," Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry Levitt says.
  • Levitt adds that insurance tends to pay a bigger part of hospital bills versus other services because hospital bills tend to be large, causing patients to blow through their deductible or hit their out-of-pocket maximum.

Go deeper: Surprise hospitals bills are everywhere

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