The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Office of the Actuary projects growth in national health expenditures for 2017-2026 will be faster than the projected growth in the gross domestic product, according to a new report. National health expenditure growth is expected to average 5.5 percent each year between 2017-2026.
“Growth in national health spending is projected to be faster than projected growth in (gross domestic product) by 1.0 percentage points over 2017-2026. As a result, the report projects the health share of GDP to rise from 17.9 percent in 2016 to 19.7 percent by 2026,” according to CMS. The prospects for national health spending and enrollment over the next 10 years are expected to be influenced primarily by key economic and demographic factors:
Trends in disposable personal income;
Increases in prices for medical goods and services; and
Shifts in enrollment from private health insurance to Medicare that result from the continued aging of the baby-boom generation into Medicare eligibility.
“[The] report from the independent CMS Office of the Actuary shows that healthcare spending is expected to continue growing more quickly than the rest of the economy,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a news release. “This is yet another call to action for CMS to increase market competition and consumer choice within our programs to help control costs and ensure that our programs are available for future generations.”
Additional findings from the report, according to CMS, include:
Total national health spending growth: Growth is projected to have been 4.6 percent in 2017, up slightly from 4.3 percent growth in 2016, as a result of i) accelerating growth in Medicare spending, ii) slightly faster growth in prices for healthcare goods and services, and iii) increases in premiums for insurance purchased through the Marketplaces. In 2018, total health spending is projected to grow by 5.3 percent, driven partly by growth in personal healthcare prices.
Medicare: Among the major payers for healthcare over the 2017-2026 period, Medicare is projected to experience the most rapid annual growth at 7.4 percent, largely driven by enrollment growth and faster growth in utilization from recent near-historically low rates.
Private health insurance: Private health insurance spending is projected to average 4.7 percent over 2017- 2026, the slowest of the major payers, reflecting low enrollment growth and downward pressure on utilization growth influenced by: i) lagged impact of slowing growth in income in 2016 and 2017, ii) increasing prevalence of high-deductible health plans, and iii) to a lesser extent, repeal of the penalty associated with individual mandate.
Personal healthcare spending: Over 2017-2026, growth in personal healthcare spending is projected to average 5.5 percent. Among the factors, personal healthcare price growth is anticipated to be the largest factor at 2.5 percentage points, growth in the use and intensity of goods and services is expected to contribute 1.7 percentage points of total growth, and population growth (0.9 percentage point) and changing demographics (0.5 percentage point) account for the remaining growth.
Insured share of the population: The proportion of the population with health insurance is projected to decrease from 91.1 percent in 2016 to 89.3 percent in 2026, due in part to the elimination of the penalty payments associated with the individual mandate and also to a continuation of a downward trend in the offering and take-up of employer-sponsored health insurance.