Report: Slowdown in health care costs to continue

Posted at 6:06 AM, Jun 18, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-18 02:11:03-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new report suggests a recent slowdown in medical costs that was once considered just a pause may be developing into a trend.

That's seen as good news for most companies that provide health benefits for their employees.

Accounting and consulting giant PwC projects lower overall growth in medical costs for next year, even as the economy gains strength and millions of uninsured people receive coverage under President Barack Obama's health care law.

If the calculations are correct, cost spikes because of the new health care law should be contained within a relatively narrow market segment.

The report comes with a caveat: self-employed people and others who buy coverage individually could well see an increase in premiums in 2014.

The reasons have to do with requirements in the health care law like eliminating denials for pre-existing medical problems. Those patients cost more to cover.