National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

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Downloadable Graphics on CAM Costs in the United States

Downloadable images are available in 72-dpi PNG format (RGB and grayscale) and 300-dpi TIFF format (CMYK and grayscale).

  • 72 dpi (low resolution) is appropriate for web pages.
  • 300 dpi (high resolution) is appropriate for professionally printed magazine ads and other publications.

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Source: Nahin, RL, Barnes PM, Stussman BJ, and Bloom B. Costs of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Frequency of Visits to CAM Practitioners: United States, 2007. National health statistics reports; no 18. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2009.

Credit: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, NIH, DHHS

Total Health Care Spending and Out-of-Pocket Spending

Combined Total Health Care Spending and Out-of-Pocket Spending Graphic (Figure 1 and Figure 2 Combined)

Total Health Care Spending (Figure 1)

Figure 1 shows total conventional health care costs, total out-of-pocket costs and total CAM out-of-pocket costs. CAM accounts for approximately 1.5 percent of total health care expenditures and 11.2 percent of total out-of-pocket expenditures on health care in the United States—with total health care costs at $2.2 trillion, out-of-pocket conventional care costs at $268.6 billion, and CAM out-of-pocket costs at $33.9 billion.

Out-of-Pocket Spending (Figure 2)

Figure 2 shows total out-of-pocket health care costs for both conventional health care and CAM in 2007 and prescription costs versus nonvitamin, nonmineral, natural products costs and CAM practitioner costs versus physician visits cost. Out of the $33.9 billion, an estimated $22.0 billion was spent on self-care costs—CAM products, classes, and materials—with the majority going to the purchase of nonvitamin, nonmineral, natural products ($14.8 billion). The remaining $11.9 billion was spent on visits to CAM practitioners. The $14.8 billion spent on nonvitamin, nonmineral, natural products, is equivalent to approximately 1/3 of total out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs ($47.6 billion) and the $11.9 billion spend on CAM practitioner visits is equivalent to approximately 1/4 of total out-of-pocket spending on physician visits ($49.6 billion).

CAM Out-of-Pocket Spending: Self-Care vs. Practitioner Care

CAM Out-of-Pocket Spending: Self-Care vs. Practitioner Care (Figure 3)

Figure 3 shows the self-care costs versus practitioner costs and the breakdown of types of self-care costs. Nonvitamin, nonmineral, natural products accounted for the majority of out-of-pocket dollars spent on CAM self-care purchases at $14.8 billion, followed by yoga, tai chi, qi gong classes ($4.1 billion), homeopathic medicine ($2.9 billion) and relaxation techniques ($0.2 billion).

Out of Pocket Costs for Select CAM Therapies

Out of Pocket Costs for Select CAM Therapies (Figure 4)

Figure 4 shows total out-of-pocket costs for select CAM therapies. The CAM therapies—including both self-care and practitioner-based—with the most out-of-pocket costs were nonvitamin, nonmineral, natural products ($15.4 billion), massage ($4.2 billion), yoga, tai chi, and qi gong classes ($4.1 billion), chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation ($3.9 billion), and homeopathic medicine ($3.1 billion). Totals for nonvitamin, nonmineral, natural products and homeopathy include both CAM practitioner costs and costs of purchasing CAM products. Totals for massage and chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation are only CAM practitioner costs. Totals for yoga, tai chi, and qi gong classes are only the cost of purchasing CAM products.