In Ontario, private sector health-care spending — which includes private insurance and out-of-pocket payments — grew 14.5 per cent over the past 10 years, according to a new study by Health Quality Ontario.

In 2004, insurers and patients spent $1,218 per person. By 2013, the amount had grown to $1,394. During the same period, public spending grew seven per cent, from $2,406 to $2,581, and then peaked at $2,736 in 2010, or a 13.7 per cent increase from 2003.

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The study also found more than half (57.4 per cent) of Ontarians reported having no chronic illness in 2014. Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) reported having one, and 20 per cent reported having two or more. The percentage of Ontarians with one chronic condition was similar across all education levels, while Ontarians with less than a high school education were more likely to report two or more chronic conditions.

Sixty per cent of health-care costs in Ontario are spent on hospital services (28 per cent), drugs (16.6 per cent) and physician services (16.2 per cent), according to the study. Between 2004 and 2013, drugs was the fastest-growing category. In Ontario, 62 per cent of the drug spend comes from the private sector.

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In 2014, three-quarters of 12- to 64-year-olds in Ontario reported having private drug insurance. That number has remained stable since 2008. Those who don’t have coverage are more likely to have less education, live in poorer neighbourhoods and be recent immigrants.

Just over a third (35 per cent) of money spent on Ontarians’ health care comes from the private sector.

In 2013, Ontarians ($5,877 per person) spent just under the Canadian average on health care ($5,958), taking into account both public and private spending. Quebecers ($5,519) and British Columbians ($5,652) spent the least, while Manitobans ($6,705) and Newfoundlanders ($6,826) spent the most.

Internationally, Ontario’s health-care spending falls in the middle of spending among the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries.

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Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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