A U.S. Census Bureau report issued in October showed a decline of medical services through 2010, and in annual visits from 4.8 in 2001 to 3.9 in 2010 for people ages 18-64. The Census did not give a reason for the decline, but rising unemployment and uninsured status may have been major factors, according to American Medical News.
However, more recent statistics, from Truven Health Analytics, report a rise in visitation after healthcare reform.
In the third quarter of 2012, primary care traffic, including obstetrician-gynecologists, from insured patients increased to 12.7 patients per day from 12.4 per day in the same quarter of 2011. Specialists’ traffic also went up slightly. After a nearly constant decline in quarter-over-quarter visits since 2008, 2012 has featured gains in every quarter, Truven said.
Other reports from investment analysts and industry watchers have noted small gains in visit traffic overall in 2012, reversing previous years’ trends. Unexpectedly high health spending was a big reason why six of the seven largest publicly traded health plans (UnitedHealth Group excepted) recorded earnings declines, not including one-time gains, in the second quarter of 2012, the latest financial information available.