Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Medical Costs to Rise 6.8% in 2015 According to Early Trend Forecast

This is from Kaiser Health News:
... If health plans stay unchanged, PwC sees medical costs rising by 6.8 percent in 2015, up from a projected increase of 6.5 percent this year. (PwC defines medical costs as per-capita health expenses for private insurers and large, self-insured employers. This is different from the government’s measure of health spending, which includes outlays for the government programs Medicaid and Medicare.) 
But PwC doesn’t expect plans to stay the same. In a separate study, the consulting firm forecasts that employers and insurers will continue to raise deductibles and give members other incentives to mind the price of care. (The deductible is what patients pay before insurance kicks in.) 
Those changes should slow growth in the total cost of care to 4.8 percent, PwC says, as greater exposure to price tags prompts workers to undergo fewer treatments and tests. (PwC expects the deceleration from 6.8 percent to 4.8 percent to come solely from changes in consumer behavior, not money employers save by shifting costs to workers.) 
Employers increasingly offer plans with deductibles of several thousand dollars, making members responsible for routine medical costs, and often for large portions of hospitalizations and other expensive treatment. 
Two-thirds of the companies surveyed by PwC offer high-deductible plans. Nearly a fifth of employers offer nothing but a high-deductible plan. Forty-four percent of the rest are considering it, PwC said. Other research shows the same trend. ...