2017 will be a year of equilibrium for medical costs. The forces that increase health costs are being tempered by a demand for value in the New Health Economy. Compared with a period of double-digit trend growth in the last decade, flat growth may feel like a win to health industry leaders.
PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI) projects the medical cost trend to be the same as the prior year – a 6.5% growth rate for 2017. After likely changes in benefit plan design, such as higher deductibles and co-pays, the net growth rate is expected to be one percentage point lower at 5.5%. For comparison, the net growth rate projection in 2016 was two percentage points lower due to more employer interest in cost sharing.