The story of 2015 is a nuanced one. At first glance, the health sector appears to be reverting to historical patterns of bouncing back as the nation recovers from the economic doldrums. Whether spending more freely because of the improved economy or shopping with insurance provided through the Affordable Care Act, consumers triggered the first bump in growth in the first quarter of 2014. We expect that to continue through next year.
For the past few years, healthcare spending growth has slowed. Changes in the industry and an anemic economic recovery were repeatedly cited as reasons for the contractions in our annual publication on medical cost trend. However, the health sector appears to be repeating history, bouncing back after recovering from an economic downturn. Whether consumers are spending more freely because of an improved economy or shopping with insurance provided through the Affordable Care Act, they have triggered the first significant bump in growth in the first quarter of 2014.
This year, our annual report, Medical Cost Trend: Behind the numbers 2015, spells out what might be a reversal of this trend, citing market influences such as the economic upswing, specialty drugs, physician employment and more IT investment as reasons the medical cost trend will rise slightly to 6.8%. Read our report on our microsite at www.pwc.com/us/medicalcosttrend.