Report: Healthcare Expense Growth Hits Record High

Healthcare expenses grew 5.6 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2013, the highest growth rate recorded in the past decade, according to a report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

moneyThe acceleration was largely because of an $8 billion increase in hospital revenue in the fourth quarter, according to a USA Today report. Avalere Health CEO Dan Mendelson told USA Today the rise may be the result of drivers such as increasing use of expensive, high-tech healthcare services. Additionally, American Hospital Association spokeswoman Jennifer Schleman said the economy is picking up, meaning people have more resources to spend on healthcare services, according to the report.

Furthermore, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's mandate that all Americans get health insurance or pay a penalty could also lead to more spending. CMS expects healthcare spending to increase by 6.1 percent this year, compared with a 4 percent increase in 2013, as millions of Americans gain insurance coverage, according to the report.

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