National healthcare spending is expected to grow by an average of 5.8% a year through 2020 as the economic recovery spurs higher utilization, the population grows, and an estimated 30 million people receive health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, according to a study in Health Affairs.
Under that rate of growth, the percentage of gross domestic product spent on health expenditures is projected to increase from 17.6% in 2010, to 19.8% in 2020. The Health Affairs study also projects that the average annual per capita national healthcare expenditure will increase from $8,327 in 2010 to $13,708 by 2020, representing an annual average growth of 4.9%.
In 2014, healthcare cost growth is expected to surge by 8.3% because of implementation of major components of the ACA, according to the study: National Health Spending Projections Through 2020: Economic Recovery And Reform Drive Faster Spending Growth.
If the ACA were not in place, however, the study projected that the pace of healthcare cost growth would decrease by only .1% from the projected 5.8% rate of growth. Basically, the ACA's cost savings and expenditures would balance out, the study projected.
John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders.