A child gets a checkup. / Getty Images
Health care costs have been growing at a historically low rate but are poised to increase again starting this year, according to a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report out today.
Though growth over the next nine years is likely to be lower than it was from the 1990s through most of the 2000s, it will average 6% from 2015 to 2023, up from the 5.8% CMS predicted last year.
That's below the 7.2% increase in health care spending from 1990 through 2008.
The growth in health spending for 2013 is estimated to have slowed to 3.6%, but the rate will rise to 5.6% for 2014, the report says.
The leading contributors to the increased growth are more people being covered through the Affordable Care Act, expected economic growth and the aging population, CMS says. Some of the impact on the older populations is tempered by the fact that Baby Boomers are healthier than many other new enrollees in Medicare as most are coming from private insurance, the study says.
Since the 2007-08 recession, economic recovery has been weaker than anticipated, which has tamped down the rate of health care spending.
Every year, CMS releases an analysis of how Americans are likely to spend their health care dollars in the coming decade.
Sean Keehan, a study co-author, says increasingly high health care cost-sharing by consumers helps to slow growth. When people, rather than their insurers and employers, pay more out of pocket for their health care, they simply choose to have fewer procedures.
CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner says the report shows "health care costs are increasing at a slower rate thanks to the Affordable Care Act."
The number of uninsured is likely to decline by nearly half from 45 million in 2012 to 23 million by 2023 as a result of the coverage expansions associated with the Affordable Care Act, the CMS report says.
Dave Osterndorf, a chief actuary at benefits consulting firm Towers Watson, says that although the report largely tracks CMS and the Congressional Budget Office's reports on health care spending growth, much of the economic growth will come from hiring at companies that provide health insurance.
"Health care spending growth will continue to outpace the rest of the economy, so all payers â?? employers, government and consumers â?? will have an incentive to try to control costs," Osterndorf says.
Read the original story: Health care spending growth is slow but rising