Estimates project aggregate health care spending in the U.S. will grow at an average rate of 5.8% for 2012-2022, according to data released from the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
The increase is one percentage point faster than expected in the gross domestic product so that the health care share of the GDP in 2022 is projected to reach 19.9%, up from 17.9% in 2011.
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These projections reflect a combination of factors affecting health care spending, including forecasted changes in the nation’s economy and provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
For 2013 health care spending was projected to remain under 4% because of the sluggish economic recovery, slowed growth in Medicare and Medicaid spending, and continued cost-sharing requirements for the privately insured.
But starting in 2014, growth in national health spending is expected to accelerate to 6.1 percent. The sharp rise in the coming year is mainly due to the expanded insurance coverage as a result of the ACA, though either Medicaid or other marketplaces.
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The use of medical services and goods, especially prescription drugs and physician services, among the newly insured is expected to contribute significantly to spending increases in Medicaid and private health insurance. In addition, out-of-pocket spending is expected to decline 1.5% in 2014 because of new overages and lower cost sharing for those with better coverage.
Further analysis may indicate these increases may not be cause for alarm, however. The Office of the Actuary also studied the relationship between economic growth and health spending over the past 50 years. It suggests that health spending growth is likely to accelerate once economic conditions improve markedly.
“Although projected growth is faster than in the recent past, it is still slower than the growth experienced over the long term,” Gigi Cuckler, lead author of the study, said.
To learn more about the reasons for the spending increase, read the press release provided by Health Affairs.