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A breakdown of consumer spending from the Bureau of Labor Statistics supports the notion that the high cost of healthcare encourages patients to seek care in less traditional settings like urgent care. Data for 2012–2014, the most current available, show that 19 percent of total healthcare spending is out of pocket—and that figures is still on the rise. With an increase of 20.6%, increases in total spending for healthcare far outpaced income before taxes (up 1.9%) and overall consumer spending (up 4%) in the study period. The burden appears to be heaviest on consumers with private health insurance, where premiums increased 39.1%. Such data can inform urgent care marketing messages and factor into site selection for new locations (eg, assessing areas that are underserved by walk-in clinics or in close proximity to higher-cost emergency settings).

Increases in Cost of Care Outpace Income and Overall Spending