U.S. HEALTHCARE COSTS TO RISE 7.5% IN 2013-REPORT

Author: Glenn Levar, CEO of Shared Time Human Resources Management

Glenn Levar
Glenn Levar
  • Glenn Levar
    Glenn Levar
    Glenn Levar
    Glenn Levar
The cost of U.S. healthcare services is expected to rise 7.5% in 2013, more than three times the projected rates for U.S. inflation and economic growth, according to an industry research report released on Thursday.

But premiums for large employer-sponsored health plans could increase by only 5.5% as a result of company wellness programs and a growing trend toward plans that impose higher insurance costs on workers, said the report by the professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, or PwC.

The projected growth rate of 7.5% for overall healthcare costs contrasts with expectations for growth of 2.4% in U.S. gross domestic product and a 2.0% rise in consumer prices during 2013, according to the latest Reuters economic survey.

Healthcare costs have long been known to outstrip economic growth and inflation rates, driving up government spending on programs such as Medicare and Medicaid at a time when federal policymakers and lawmakers are wrangling over how to trim the U.S. budget deficit of $1 trillion a year.

But PwC's Health Research Institute, which based its research on input from health plan actuaries, industry leaders, analyst reports and employer surveys, said data for the past three years suggest an extended slowdown in healthcare inflation from earlier decades when annual costs rose by double-digits. Reuters via FoxBusinessNews.com June 6, 2012

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