HR Resources Database

HR Resources Database October 2008

Private sector health spending on the rise, says CIHI

Private sector health care spending continues to increase while access to non-emergency surgery has improved in recent years, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information's Health Care in Canada 2008 report.
Total private-sector health care spending - which includes payments by health insurance providers as well as individual Canadians' out-of-pocket expenses - was an estimated $47 billion in 2007, up 5.7% from $45 billion in 2006.

In 2007, public- and private-sector spending on health care was an estimated $160 billion, 4.1% more than in 2006 after adjusting for inflation, and about 3.2% more after adjusting for both inflation and population growth.

Per capita spending on health care in 2007 was an estimated $4,867, about $261 higher than the $4,606 per capita estimated for 2006. Among the provinces, it was forecast to be highest in Alberta and Manitoba, at about $5,390 and $5,250 per person, respectively.

While health care spending is on the rise, it appears that wait times for elective surgery are down slightly. In 2007, 32% of Canadians reported waiting less than a month for elective surgery, compared with 15% in 2005, according to a Commonwealth Fund international survey cited in the CIHI report.

Progress has also been made in reducing wait times in the five priority areas identified by Canada's first ministers in 2004. The number of completed procedures in these areas-cancer care, cardiac care, hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery, and diagnostic imaging-increased more rapidly than in non-priority areas. Between 2004-2005 and 2006-2007, knee replacement surgeries increased by 28%, cataract surgeries increased by 13%, while cancer surgeries increased by 1%.

Between 2005 and 2006, X-ray and ultrasound examinations together continued to account for nearly 80% of all medical imaging examinations (excluding angiography) in Canadian hospitals. Computed tomography (CT) accounted for another 12%, followed by nuclear medicine (6%), magnetic resonance imaging (or MRI, 3%) and cardiac catheterization (1%).

For other EBNC coverage on wait times, see:
Small drop in median wait times for surgery.

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