US Health Spending Growth Getting Back to Normal

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US Health Spending Growth Getting Back to Normal
Calendar04 August 2015

There were a lot of headlines last week when the federal government released US health care spending projections for the next 10 years. An average increase of 5.8% is predicted from 2014-24.That’s up from the historically low increases in 2007-2013 (under 4% annually), but still considerably better than the 9% annual increases of the three prior decades. As this article from The New York Times suggests, with the economy improving and more people gaining insurance under the ACA, you would expect overall spending on health care to rise. But what about the per-person cost of health coverage? Last year Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans found that employers experienced a 3.9% increase in per-employee cost in 2014 (compared to the 5.5% increase in overall spending announced by the government) and that they expected cost to rise by just 4.6% in 2015. The steps they’ve taken to slow cost growth in their own plans is one factor helping to keep US spending on health care in check even as more people gain coverage.

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