CMS: Health spending to slow even as number of insured on the rise


BALTIMORE — The number of uninsured is expected 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, according to a report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary published last week in Health Affairs. But even as there are more insured, health spending growth will remain relatively slow, CMS reported. 


Health spending growth for 2013 is projected to remain slow at 3.6%, which would mark the fifth consecutive year of spending growth under 4%. National health expenditures are projected to grow at an average rate of 5.7% for 2013 through 2023, about 110 basis points faster than the expected average annual growth rate for the gross domestic product.  


Average annual growth of 6% per year is projected for 2015 through 2023, largely as a result of the continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act coverage expansions, faster projected economic growth and the aging of the population.  


While projected growth over the projection period is faster compared to recent experience, it is still slower than the growth observed over the last two decades. From 1990-2008, the average rate was 7.2% and health spending grew 200 basis points faster than GDP.  


The National Health Expenditure projections report, issued annually, contains estimates of spending for health care in the United States over the next decade by type of service and source of funding.


Other findings include the fact that 2014 spending growth is expected to accelerate. For 2014, the health spending growth rate is expected to be 5.6%, as 9 million Americans are projected to gain health insurance coverage, predominantly through Medicaid or the Health Insurance Marketplaces. Out-of-pocket spending is projected to decline by 0.2%. 


And government health expenditures is expected to increase. By 2023, health expenditures financed by federal, state and local governments are projected to account for 48% of national health spending. In 2012, such expenditures constituted 44% of national health spending.


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