Expenditures for primary care may affect how primary care is delivered

This study looks at trends in out-of-pocket and total visit expenditures for visits to primary care physicians. Using the 2002-2017 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), the authors described changes in out-of-pocket and total visit expenditures for primary care visits for Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. Between 2002 and 2017, the proportion of primary care visits associated with private insurance or no insurance decreased, while Medicare- and Medicaid-associated visits increased. Total expenditure per visit increased for private insurance and Medicare visits. Out-of-pocket expenditures rose primarily from increases in private insurance visits with higher out-of-pocket expenditures, while Medicare and Medicaid changed minimally. If these current trends continue, the authors would expect increasing difficulty with primary care physician access, particularly for Medicaid patients.

American Academy of Family Physicians