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.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
5 Monthly Bills You Can Easily Negotiate Down
5 Monthly Bills You Can Easily Negotiate Down

Here’s how to bring down recurring expenses and save hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars each year.

6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman
6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman

Beware: The self-proclaimed personal finance expert has a track record that suggests more sizzle than steak.

2-Minute Money Strategy: How Should I Invest My Retirement Savings?
2-Minute Money Strategy: How Should I Invest My Retirement Savings?

If retirement is on the horizon, you can’t afford to take too much risk, but you also need to make as much as possible. Here are your options.

9 Indestructible Products That Are Worth the Price
9 Indestructible Products That Are Worth the Price

If you’re willing to pay a little more for these products, you may never have to shop for another again.

3 Costly Social Security Mistakes That Women Make
3 Costly Social Security Mistakes That Women Make

Women face unique challenges when planning for retirement and making these mistakes can result in a skimpier retirement.

View this page without ads

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

Get Started

Most Popular
17 Everyday Products Now Facing Shortages
17 Everyday Products Now Facing Shortages

Many goods we take for granted have become tough to find in 2021.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire
9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire

You’ve waited all your life for this moment. Make the most of your retirement.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value
3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value

Select the wrong color for your next car, and it could depreciate twice as fast as others.

9 Groups Who Should Brace for Higher Income Taxes
9 Groups Who Should Brace for Higher Income Taxes

Recent proposals would hike taxes for people with a wide range of incomes.

Never Buy These 10 Things on Amazon
Never Buy These 10 Things on Amazon

Just because you can purchase something on Amazon doesn’t mean that you should.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

12 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
12 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

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

8 of the Worst Things to Buy at Target
8 of the Worst Things to Buy at Target

No store can specialize in everything. For some purchases, it’s smart to shop elsewhere.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

8 Things You Should Be Buying at Thrift Stores
8 Things You Should Be Buying at Thrift Stores

For one expert, these secondhand bargains stand out from the rest.

20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees
20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees

Retirees can dial back the intensity of work while continuing to bring in a paycheck.

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.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

11 Foods That Can Keep for Years
11 Foods That Can Keep for Years

These are some of the longest-lasting groceries you can buy.

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.