The costs of health care have risen in the last fifty years, both to the consumer and to the providers. As new treatments, drugs, and procedures cost more and more to research, patent, and gain FDA approval, the cost to the consumer rises correspondingly. Because of this, the consumer rarely pays full-price for health care. Most care is partially or completely offset by insurance and benefits. Despite this, the cost to the consumer remains significant because of deductible payments, taxes, and premiums. As of 2010, the largest payer of health care costs were private insurance companies, paying for a staggering 35% of all hospital costs, and 46% for physician costs. Only Medicare, at 28% for hospital and 22% for physicians, comes anywhere close.
Through most of the various costs, private insurance remains the highest payer, slipping behind only in nursing care, home care, and "other." In the "Other" categories, out-of-pocket payments and "other payers" are highest. Overall, the two highest payers are private insurance companies and Medicare/Medicaid. It is important to note that private insurance companies receive their money from fees and premiums, while Medicare/Medicaid receives its money from taxes. The animated graph at chcf.org has a full breakdown of costs from 1960-2010.