U.S. healthcare spending grew 5.3% last year to $3 trillion, another sign that a historic slowdown in medical inflation may be ending, a new federal report shows.
The massive expansion of insurance coverage under the health law and rapid growth in specialty drug spending fueled the uptick in medical costs, officials said. Annual spending growth was 3.7%, on average, during the last five years.
The country spent $9,523 per person on healthcare in 2014, including Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance. That’s far higher than what other developed countries pay, and healthcare spending now accounts for 17.5% of the U.S. economy.
Experts aren’t predicting a return to double-digit increases in medical spending. But the latest trend underscores how difficult it will be for policymakers, employers and insurers to control healthcare costs going forward.