Healthcare spending is forecasted to grow at a historically low rate of 7.5% in 2013, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC estimates.
PwC's Health Research Institute in a survey and report released Thursday attributes much of the projected slower growth to the tepid economy, the healthcare industry's broad focus on cost containment, higher out-of-pocket costs and, therefore, lower utilization for healthcare consumers, and efforts by employers to keep their health insurance expenses down.
"Cost is at the top of the agenda for everyone in healthcare and you are starting to see the industry move towards reconfiguring itself towards getting costs in check," PwC Principal, Rick Judy, told HealthLeaders Media.
"There is price transparency that is really exerting pressure on providers and allowing patients to shop for their medical care based on value and quality," he says. "Some of the drug patents coming off are moving a lot more patients to generics."
"Another deflator is that medical supply costs are down and that is due to a lot of hospital consolidation and physician alignment," he says. "That is improving the negotiating positions for a lot of providers and there is less tolerance for individual physician preference than there used to be."