SOURCE: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
PwC's Health Research Institute Projects Historic Slowdown in Healthcare Spending Growth for 2014
Healthcare inflation in the U.S. is projected to dip to 6.5 percent in 2014, according to PwC's Health Research Institute (HRI) in its annual report, Medical Cost Trend: Behind the Numbers. The ongoing slowdown in the healthcare growth rate defies historical post-recession patterns and is likely to be sustained even as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) adds millions more newly-insured Americans to the health system next year.
The decline in spending growth is a signal of progress in the quest to bend the cost curve. At the same time, the slowdown presents financial challenges for the industry as it attempts to navigate in a rapidly-changing environment. According to HRI, structural changes within the industry are helping to contain costs and deliver care more efficiently. Consumers, meanwhile, who are paying a greater share of the cost, are making spending adjustments. Many are delaying care, using fewer services and choosing less expensive options such as retail clinics, urgent care centers and mobile health devices.