Medical Bill An inpatient visitin the United States averages $22,000, more than threetimes the average cost in Germany ($6,050) (Photo:Shutterstock)

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A single outpatient visit in the United States costs anaverage of $500, a new study finds. That may sound expensive, butit's a pittance compared to the average in-patient visit:$22,000.

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The research, which was conducted by the Institute for HealthMetrics and Evaluation, also highlighted how much more expensivehealth care is in the U.S. compared to othercountries.

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In some cases, the average price of care is simply a reflectionof the country's economy. The average outpatient visit only costs$2 in Burundi, Eritrea and the Central African Republic, all ofwhich have extremely high levels of poverty.

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Related: 6 trends that will impact health care nextyear

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However, care is also much cheaper in wealthy countries. InJapan, the average outpatient visit ($76) costs about a sixth asmuch as in the U.S., and outpatient visits in Canada ($157), France($170) and the United Kingdom ($243) all cost less than half asmuch as in the U.S., on average. Even in Switzerland, a countrywith a per-capita income significantly higher than America's, theaverage visit was more than $100 cheaper ($398).

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The average cost of inpatient care in the U.S. dwarfed that ofother developed countries. It is more than three times the averagecost in Germany ($6,050) and France ($6,567) and more than doublethe average cost in the UK ($9,037), Canada ($10,103) and Japan($10,335).

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“To achieve (universal health care), health officials in thegovernment, private, and nonprofit sectors need to expand servicesto accommodate population growth and aging, as well as expandinsurance coverage,” said Dr. Marcia R. Weaver of IHME. “Notsurprisingly, we found both overutilization and underutilization ofservices among inpatient and outpatient facilities. Moreimportantly, we identified countries like the Netherlands,Portugal, and Thailand that have the right amount of each.”

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The good news is that there is evidence that growth in healthcare spending is beginning to slow. At least the rate of spendinggrowth did not rise as much in 2017 as in prior years. Health careas a percentage of GDP declined ever-so-slightly, from 18 percentto 17.9 percent.

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