In recent weeks we’ve heard the first positive news on health care costs in many years. Health care cost increases have begun to slow down. The Associated Press reported in mid August:
A report Tuesday from accounting and consulting giant PwC projects lower overall growth in medical costs for next year, even as the economy gains strength and millions of uninsured people receive coverage under President Barack Obama’s health care law (Alonso-Zaldivar, 6/17).
Bloomberg News Reported August 18th: Health Cost Growth Slows Further Even As Economy Rebounds: Provisions in the Affordable Care Act that penalize hospitals for excessive readmissions and encourage employers to offer wellness programs are slowing the growth of U.S. medical costs, even as the economy rebounds. Health-care costs for commercial insurers and employers are expected to rise about 4.5 percent next year after accounting for changes in benefits.
This sounds like the sharp upward trend in health care costs is decelerating, but will the current moderation in the increase of health care costs be enough to lessen the burden of paying for health care for the average US household? It may, but the moderation may not be enough. Health insurance premiums have become too expensive for many households. Clearly, many Americans will need to alter future financial and lifestyle plans in order to pay for health care. More guidance on this important issue to come on this page.
Meanwhile, health insurance companies have prospered as they have rapidly raised premiums ahead of the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) mandates. Below is a chart of CI Cigna, a major health insurer.