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Nearly 40% of commercially insured people incurred half of their annual out-of-pocket spending in just one encounter, and 26% incurred 90% in only one or two encounters. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Out-of-pocket health-care expenditures traditionally have been calculated on an annual basis. However, expenses often occur in much shorter periods.

“We found that although most commercially insured people had several health-care encounters throughout the year, their out-of-pocket spending was mostly concentrated within short time intervals,” according to research reported in the February issue of Health Affairs. “Nearly one-third of people with above-the-median total annual health-care spending (plan plus out-of-pocket spending) incurred half of their annual out-of-pocket spending in just one day.

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