ModernHealthCare: PwC predicts rise in healthcare spending will be lower than usual next year

By Beth Kutscher 


Spending on healthcare is expected to rise just 4.5% next year as employers and providers make a number of moves to bring down costs.

In its annual Behind the Numbers report, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute is forecasting a medical cost trend of 6.5% for 2014—offset by health insurance changes that will effectively lower that number two percentage points.

“This is a pretty low figure,” said Ceci Connolly, managing director at HRI, who discussed the results on a conference call hosted by Deutsche Bank. “We used to see double-digit increases, and it’s really slowed down quite a bit.”

Connolly attributed the slowdown to what she called the “recession hangover,” the lingering effects of the global financial meltdown that began at the end of 2007.

“We know there’s still an impact on consumer behavior,” she said, adding that individuals are making fewer doctor appointments, delaying elective procedures and trying to extend their prescriptions by cutting pills or skipping doses.

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