NIH releases data for out-of-pocket U.S. spending on complementary health methods
Complementary health approaches cover many different kinds of practices, health care systems, medical treatments and products.
The data show that Americans spent $28.3 billion on adult approaches and $1.9 billion on children. This means that 9.2 percent of American out-of-pocket spending for health care and 1.1 percent of total spending for health care have been spent on complementary health approaches.
“With so many Americans using and spending money on complementary health approaches, it is extremely important for us to provide the public with evidence-based information to help inform decisions,” National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) Director Josephine Briggs said. “This underscores the importance of conducting rigorous research to know whether the products and practices being used are safe and effective.”
Previous studies did not show the full extent of money spent on these health services.
“We did an earlier study on cost data from the 2007 NHIS, which was not directly comparable to this one because of differences in survey design,” Richard Nahin, NCCIH’s lead epidemiologist and author of the expenditures on complementary health approaches analysis, said. “However, globally, in both years, substantial numbers of Americans spent billions of dollars out-of-pocket on these approaches, an indication that users believe enough in the value of these approaches to pay for them.”