The 2014 Health Care Cost Forecast

The 2014 Health Care Cost Forecast

For Americans still wondering what the health care debate will mean for their pocketbooks, there may be good news—according to a recent report by PwC's Health Research Institute, health care costs are beginning to wane.

Total health care costs are projected to increase by 6.5% in 2014, a decrease from last year's prediction of 7.5%, the report stated. While that figure isn't entirely accounted for by inflation, it still marks an improvement from when yearly rate increases reached over 10% at the start of the millenium.

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The Affordable Care Act is partially responsible for the slowdown in the rise of health care costs, but consumers choosing to either limit their health care or seek cheaper options also have been the major drivers of the shift. For instance, more people have turned to retail clinics and urgent care centers since emergency room co-pays have climbed by around 50% since 2009.

The report also predicts that spending on new high-cost prescription drugs will increase by 22%.

Meanwhile, employers are likely to see a 4.5% spike in health care costs over the coming year, though the impact on employee premiums will depend largely on the employer, Ceci Connolly, the PwC's Health Research Institute managing director, told CNN Money.

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