Health Care Costs Still Rising, but You Can Trim Them

Photo by ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

After years of double-digit growth, health care costs in the U.S. have finally slowed their upward trajectory.

But a new report reveals that even with medical costs set to increase by just 6 percent in 2017 and 6.5 percent in 2018, the rise in health care costs continues to outpace the ability of many people to pay for care.

According to a medical cost trend report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Health Research Institute, the health care industry’s “new normal” is a single-digit increase in annual medical costs, rather than a double-digit bump like in the late 2000s.

Still, even with the predicted slowdown in soaring medical costs, PwC says the cost trend is “not sustainable.” It recommends that workers, providers and insurers work together to reduce costs.

Kelly Barnes, PwC’s U.S. health industries and global health industries consulting leader, says in a statement:

“Yesterday’s strategy of encouraging lower utilization through increased cost-sharing with consumers has run its course. For medical cost trend to slow further, industry leaders will need to look at new strategies that focus on bringing health prices down.”

PwC says the following factors will push medical costs higher over the next year:

  • Rising general inflation: This impacts everything from wages and benefits to medical prices.
  • Fewer Americans moving to high-deductible health plans: Although utilizing a high-deductible health plan has been “employers’ go-to strategy in recent years to curb health spending,” it’s a trend that has slowed down considerably.
  • Drug patents: There are fewer name brand drugs with expiring patents, meaning employers may have “less opportunity” to push their workers to try a cost-saving generic drug.

If you’re nearing retirement, prepare yourself: Covering out-of-pocket health care costs for you and a spouse during your golden years is estimated to cost as much as $260,000. That includes Medicare premiums, Medicare co-payments and deductibles, and out-of-pocket prescription costs.

You can always look for ways to slash your health care costs. For example, we’ve written about the money-saving potential of shopping around for care:

Websites like Healthcare Bluebook can help you determine fair prices for procedures and services. But ultimately, you’ll need to pick up the phone and start calling to learn what’s being charged in your area.

For more tips, check out:

Have you seen a spike in your medical costs? Share your experiences below or on Facebook.

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
15 Free Streaming Services to Watch While Stuck at Home
15 Free Streaming Services to Watch While Stuck at Home

These free streaming video services offer thousands of movies and TV shows, including recent releases and beloved classics.

New Ways to Save Money on Insurance of Every Kind
New Ways to Save Money on Insurance of Every Kind

Tech startups are making it easy to find the best rates for all kinds of insurance policies — and get covered fast.

These Are the 9 Best Benefits of Amazon Prime
These Are the 9 Best Benefits of Amazon Prime

These top-notch perks of an Amazon Prime membership won’t cost you a dime extra.

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on both everyday and occasional purchases.

5 Reasons You Should Retire Sooner, Not Later
5 Reasons You Should Retire Sooner, Not Later

Waiting until age 70 to retire isn’t for everyone. Could you be waiting too long?

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security
This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security

Both men and women are most likely to start receiving Social Security benefits at this age.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?
Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?

You could save more than $30,000 by setting aside these costly expenses for just one year.

6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s
6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s

We love Trader Joe’s for plenty of reasons. But think twice about this handful of products.

Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them
Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them

Here’s how to earn cash as you give new life to these unwanted items.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home
7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home

Tired of possessions weighing you down? Here are seven ways to declutter painlessly and effectively.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet
11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet

It’s scandalously easy to overspend in these areas of your life.

5 Ways Joe Biden Wants Social Security to Change
5 Ways Joe Biden Wants Social Security to Change

Here’s where Biden — as well as Trump — stands on the future of the Social Security retirement system.

9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value
9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value

Homeowners, beware these mistakes that can drive away potential buyers.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon
10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon

These freebies are available to anyone — no Prime membership necessary.

15 Outrageously Overpriced Products — and How to Save on Them
15 Outrageously Overpriced Products — and How to Save on Them

Retailers mark up products by hundreds of times their cost — but you don’t have to pay the premium.

18 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
18 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.