A recent NPR Shots article takes a deeper look into the future of health spending. Many hospitals are forecasting the spending to increase, while insurance providers expect the costs to become more controlled. “The answer matters because deficit debates and affordability concerns revolve around forecasts that health spending will speed up as the economy revives…if costs don’t rise, the future looks better for consumers, employers, and taxpayers.” With hospitals and insurance providers telling different stories, it is difficult to determine which side is correct.
According to recent hospital earning reports, “we might be heading back toward the painful 8 percent annual increases of the early 2000s.” The growth of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and higher utilization rates are drivers of this projected growth. The insurance companies offer a different perspective. According to Aetna’s chief financial officer, “medical cost trends tend to be moderate.” Cost increases at WellPoint and UnitedHealth Group are well controlled also. Ana Gupte, of Leerink Partners, believes the contradiction is that health plans “focus on per capita, not total costs.” With the ACA driving new patients, it is easy to see how costs are rising from a hospital perspective.
There are many events occurring in the marketplace that contribute to health spending. Regardless of where you fall in the healthcare spectrum, it is imperative that you stay current with the latest spending information. This is a complex and critical time for the healthcare industry and MedicalGroups.com plans to provide your practice with the actionable intelligence required to be successful.
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