Dental spending to top $84 billion in 2005
Spending on dental spending services will exceed $84 billion this year, according to the government's latest national health spending estimates.
Growth of the dental economy will continue apace with overall health spending throughout the next decade, although at more modest rates of increase, said the report on U.S. Health Spending Projections for 2004-2014 from actuaries and economists with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Dental expenditures will increase from $70.9 billion in 2002 to a projected $84.1 billion this year, the report said. Government actuaries predict annual increases of 6.3 to 6.9 percent in dental service expenditures to $146.9 billion in 2014. National health expenditures overall are projected to rise within an annual range of 7.1 to 7.9 percent during the same period, although that rate declines throughout the next decade.
However, health spending continues to outpace general economic growth for each year of the projected period, according to the CMS report. The expected rate of growth in the health care sector of the economy, though slowing, is "unsustainable" in the words of actuaries and economists commenting on the report.
"Health is the only growth sector of the U.S. economy with above average price growth along with above average quantity growth," said C. Eugene Steuerle, economist and senior fellow at The Urban Institute.
The report also notes shifts from private to public sector health care spending during the next decade as less of the health care dollar comes from patients paying directly out-of-pocket.
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