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Health insurer spending rises in second quarter, U.S. Census says

Payments to outpatient care centers saw the most growth.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that, in the second quarter of this year, insurers spent 6.7 percent more on healthcare and social assistance compared to the second quarter of 2015, totaling more than $618 million.

The sector also experienced 3.6 percent growth from the first quarter of this year.

Among healthcare's subsectors, outpatient care centers saw the most growth from the same period last year, at 9.2 percent. At 8.1 and 7.3 percent respectively, physicians' offices and ambulatory healthcare services also grew significantly. Physicians' offices saw the highest growth compared to the first quarter of 2016, at 4.5 percent.

[Also: Opioid-related spending by health insurers spikes more than 1,300 percent]

The only subsector to experience negative growth from last year was vocational rehabilitation services, which shrunk 2.2 percent. Dentists' officers and other health practitioners stayed steady during that period.

The overall 6.7 percent growth was the most of any quarter since the first quarter of 2015, when the Census Bureau reported spending was 7.1 percent more.

The healthcare data in the census report excludes pharmaceuticals, focusing solely on the amounts spent by private insurers and government programs.

The healthcare and social services sector has brought in $1.2 trillion in total revenue so far this year, up almost 6 percent from the same period in 2015.

Twitter: @JELagasse