Benefits and Compensation

Healthcare Cost Increases Outpacing Inflation, Despite Slowing Trend

The 32nd National Healthcare Trend Survey from Xerox HR Services reveals that while increases in healthcare costs are slowing, they continue to outpace inflation by a wide margin.

Since the most recent recession, the annual projected increase in healthcare costs has eased from 11.6% in 2010 to 8% in 2016. During the same period, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics stated inflation rate in the U.S. has been 1.4%.

The rising expense of healthcare is causing employers to shift more costs to employees, resulting in some consumers weighing price into their decisions of where and when to seek healthcare, and even delaying treatment due to cost.

Typically, early intervention is important with any diagnosis, said Harvey Sobel, FSA, a principal and consulting actuary at Xerox HR Services and co-author of the survey. Delaying even routine medical visits can not only invite substantially higher costs at a later date, but invite more serious health challenges.

“While it’s promising to see a slowing of increases, healthcare cost increases are still eating into employer revenue and employee paychecks at four and five times the rate of inflation,” said Sobel. “Plan sponsors should remain vigilant, reviewing all facets of their medical plans, including benefit design, networks and vendors, to make sure they and their employees are getting the best value for the price.”

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