Health Care Spending Growth Increases, but Provider Prices Hold

Staff portrait of Kathy Hempstead

Katherine Hempstead, PhD, MA, director and senior program officer, leads RWJF's work on health insurance coverage.

New data suggest the rate of growth in health care spending is rising with the largest gains attributable to prescription drug spending.

Kathy Hempstead explores data in the Altarum Center for Sustainable Health Spending’s monthly trend report, finding prescription drug spending grew by 11 percent in 2014 compared to 2.5 percent in 2013.

Although expected, expanded health insurance coverage also helped push the fourth quarter growth rate above projections for the year (6.2% Q4 growth versus 5.6% growth projected by CMS for 2014).

The March trend report provides first time estimates for all of 2014, using new QSS data for the fourth quarter of 2014.

 

About the series

Kathy Hempstead provides commentary on the Altarum Center for Sustainable Health Spending’s monthly trend reports. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, these trend reports provide a monthly summary of key trends in health care spending, prices, utilization, and employment.