The Multi Billion Dollar Question About Health Cost Growth

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The Multi Billion Dollar Question About Health Cost Growth
Calendar11 December 2014

So many articles in the past week have cited the new CMS data on US health expenditures that we thought we should pass along the original report, published in Health Affairs. The big news was that in 2013, total spending on health care in the US grew by just 3.6%, the slowest rate since 1960, when they began tracking it. The report named slowing growth in spending on private health insurance as a contributor, and in fact, the headline news from Mercer’s survey last year was that per-employee health benefit cost growth had slowed to 2.1%. In discussing the slower cost growth in private insurance, the report points to higher enrollment in consumer-directed health plans along with design changes in other medical plans -- in other words, to the steps employers have been taking to manage cost. While the authors of the report suggest that the slowdown in overall health spending might be predicted by the slow economic recovery, a commentator in The New York Times suggested that this view is too conservative and that we may be seeing the beginnings of systemic change -- for the better -- in US health care.

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