Projected Increase in 2012 Medical Costs Is Slightly Higher than 8 Percent

U.S. employers can expect an 8.5 percent increase in their medical costs next year due in some part to the healthcare reform law, the consulting firm PwC said in a report Wednesday.

The widely read annual report on cost trends points to three main drivers of healthcare costs, two of which are exacerbated by the new law.

At the same time, PwC said the law will have a “minimal effect” on 2012 prices because the provisions that go into effect before 2014 are “small changes for which employers already have fully accounted.”

Still, the consulting firm said employers will have to work with health insurers and providers to ensure better care and pricing as the law is implemented further.

“Health reform is pressuring employers, providers, insurers and pharmaceutical manufacturers to be more cost-conscious and accountable for costs, quality and performance,” PwC’s Michael Galper said in a statement, “and they will need to work together to provide better, coordinated care, greater transparency in pricing and more patient-friendly practices.” Continue reading