The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said health care spending rose 5.3% in 2014, compared to 2.9% in 2013, which was the lowest increase in 55 years of National Health Expenditure Accounts. The report was published online in Health Affairs.
At a press briefing, CMS economist and lead author Anne Martin said their findings confirmed what they predicted earlier in July.
"This report mirrors everything that we expected, and that was expected in the projections earlier this year," Martin said. "We verified basically everything predicted: the total growth, the faster growth in all services, and the faster growth in all payers. There was really nothing unexpected."
In the report, the authors concluded that the increase in spending growth was primarily driven by millions of new people with health insurance coverage a result of the ACA and by rapidly rising prescription drug costs. Spending on prescription drugs grew by 12.2% in 2014, compared to 2.4 percent growth in 2013, driven primarily by new specialty drugs.
On a per-enrollee basis, overall spending increased by 3.2 percent in private health insurance and 2.4 percent for Medicare and decreased by 2.0 percent in Medicaid. Out of pocket-costs grew by 1.3% in 2014 a decline compared to the 2.4% growth reported in 2013.
Healthcare spending as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product increased from 17.3% to 17.5%, about $3 trillion.
In a press release, CMS Acting Administrator said, “Millions of uninsured Americans gained health care coverage in 2014. And still, the rate of growth remains below the level in most years prior to the coverage expansion, while out-of-pocket costs grew at the fifth lowest level on record.”