12 Surprising Facts about United States Health Care

Link to Open Enrollment

Because health care is such a hot topic right now in politics, in the news, and in the popular consciousness, there is a lot of information being thrown around about the state of health care in America, and it’s often hard to tell what is true, what is almost true, or what is completely false. So here at Meritage Medical Network, we have decided to compile a list of surprising facts about health care in the United States to help you do some of your own fact checking.

  1. The United States spends over $8,250 per capita on health care every year – that’s over 22% higher than the next highest country in the world and over 170% higher than the average of the highest-spending 50 countries in the world!
  2. In 1960, the per capita cost of health care was $147 per person in America; adjusted for inflation, it would be $1,082 today; that means our current per capita cost has grown over 660% above and beyond normal inflation.
  3. As a portion of the gross domestic product (GDP), health care spending accounts for 17.7 percent; the U.S. is second in the world and first among developed nations for the highest health care spending as a percentage of GDP.
  4. The total amount of money spent on health care each year in the United States is $2.6 trillion, and it is expected to continue rising. By 2021, spending on health care each year is expected to be $4.8 trillion.
  5. It is estimated that 30% (about $750 billion) of health care spending each year is wasted.
  6. Life expectancy in the United States is 77.4 years for men and 82.2 years for women; overall, America has the 34th highest life expectancy in the 195 countries of the world.
  7. The United States ranks 47th for infant mortality in the world.
  8. The World Health Organization has ranked the United States health care system as 37th in the world.
  9. America is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not have a universal health care system.
  10. About 75% of all health care dollars are spent on patients with one or more chronic conditions, many of which are preventable, such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, lung disease, and others.
  11. Paying for health care is the number 1 cause of bankruptcy filing every year in the U.S. Almost 2 million people need to file bankruptcy because they cannot pay their medical bills each year, and outside of bankruptcy, over 20 percent of the population (about 56 million adults) between the ages of 19 and 64 struggle with health-care related bills each year.
  12. A recent study found that lack of insurance coverage can be tied to 45,000 deaths per year in the United States and that people without health insurance have a 40% higher risk of death than those with private health insurance.

Although many of these statistics are less than encouraging, one of the best ways to improve the overall health and wellness of the population and avoid preventable deaths is to get more people insured so they can get the health care they need. Right now, it is the open enrollment period for people to purchase new insurance through the health insurance marketplaces; check out Covered California’s website to see the plans that are available and find out if you qualify for subsidies or other programs such as Medicaid.

If you’re searching for new insurance (or during open enrollment for your employer, Medicare, or other insurance plans), be sure that your policy covers health care from Meritage Medical Network. We are your health care network. As a select group of over 700 private practice physicians located throughout Marin, Napa, and Sonoma Counties, our expert staff members, both medical and administrative, are dedicated to ensuring that you receive the best quality health care available. Don’t become a statistic – enroll in or update your health insurance policy today!


Link to Open Enrollment