April’s Healthcare Index

Inspired by the monthly Harper’s Index, and after a hiatus in this post category, here is April’s index on random and useful stats and figures in healthcare and finance.

10-year annualized return for the S&P 500 Healthcare Sector Index: 13.7%; S&P 500: 11.94%.

Expected Long-Term Rate of Return on US pension plan assets for Ford, GM: 6%, 5.6%.

Current short-term expectations for medical cost inflation in the US for UPS’s post-retirement medical benefits: 6.5%.

Generic drugs as a percentage of all prescriptions in the US: 86%; as a percentage of costs: 26%; change in prices of generic drugs between 2008 and 2016: -74%; change in brand drug prices: 208%.

Number of health savings accounts (HSA) in the US: 30,000,000.

Number of HSA accounts that invest at least a portion of the balance: 1,800,000, or 6%.

Average real1 investment return for the 28,000,000 that don’t invest: negative 2.5%2.

Dollars needed to invest per month, beginning at age 25, to fund the bulk of healthcare costs in retirement without touching the principal: $79.

The average single deductible for the 1-2M unsubsidized ACA enrollees: $4,400; for 155M+ employer-sponsored coverage: $1,644.

The reduction in the likelihood of searching for prices of healthcare services once a deductible is met: 90%.

The percentage of US adults who have a proficient state of health literacy: 12.

Free cash flow generated by Amazon in 2020: $26.4B. 

Ratio of firms that prefer highlighting undiluted adjusted  EBITDA vs. free cash flow per share: hard to count but yuge. 


 Disclosures: my personal healthcare coverage is a $5,000 deductible cost-sharing plan (non-ACA). Healthcare investments: Covetrus, Cigna, HealthEquity.

Photo by Maksym Kaharlytskyi on Unsplash   


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  1. after inflation
  2. ttm total CPI = 2.6%; average APY on HSA assets < 0.1% 
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