At a time when health care costs continue to rise, spending for primary care is declining.

This is the conclusion of an analysis of Health Care Cost Institute Data published on the Health Affairs Blog.

According to the analysis, spending on primary health care declined six percent between 2012 and 2016 – more than twice the rate of the decline in spending for any other type of care.

These results concern analysts because research shows that investment in primary care services generally improves population health at less cost.

The decline is in utilization, not price, and while the reasons for decreased utilization are not certain, among the factors are thought to be high-deductible insurance plans, increased cost-sharing, greater use of urgent care, and a general preference for specialist services.

Learn more about the data, the trend, and its implications in the Health Affairs Blog report “Disinvesting in Primary Care,” which can be found here.