Employers’ health costs will accelerate next year, but a 6.8% increase in 2015 won’t signal a coming cost spiral, PricewaterhouseCoopers says in a new report.
“This is not an immediate return to double-digit growth rates,” says Ben Isgur, of PwC’s Health Research Institute. However, he adds, “what we’re seeing for 2015 will be our first uptick in some time.”
Health costs have grown at historically slow rates since the 2008 recession.
One reason for PwC’s optimism: When employers shift health care costs to employees—for example, with higher deductibles and co-pays—employees tend to become much more price-conscious consumers of health care.
Long-term, the PwC report predicts that the health care cost growth curve will settle in at around 4.8% per year.