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Health Care Costs Increasing at Unsustainable Pace

Medical costs are poised to continue their relatively flat growth in 2019, but researchers say the steady trend is unsustainable for consumers. The expected 6 percent growth in 2019 aligns with the 5.5 percent to 7 percent trend over the past five years — a welcome change from the double-digit spikes in the 2000s — but higher costs haven't translated to similar gains in consumers' health and productivity, said PricewaterhouseCoopers researchers who studied employer-sponsored healthcare spending. Expensive new medical services and drugs and market consolidation are driving higher costs, said Barbara Gniewek, a health services principal at PwC. "It looks like costs are stabilizing, but they are still going up at a rate above inflation," she said. "They are still increasing at an uncontrolled level and are ultimately unsustainable." (Modern Healthcare by Alex Kacik)

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