CMS study finds that national health spending grew 5.8 percent in 2015

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) says overall health spending grew by 5.8 percent last year, the result of increased use and intensity of services as millions gained health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as well as continued significant growth in spending for retail prescription drugs.

The report from CMS’s Office of the Actuary found that spending on prescription drugs increased 9 percent in 2015, lower than the 12.4 percent growth in 2014 yet significantly higher than the 2.3 percent growth in 2013. Overall spending on a per-enrollee basis increased by 4.5 percent for private health insurance, 1.7 percent for Medicare and 3.8 percent for Medicaid.

The report noted that over a two-year period, 20 million individuals either gained private health insurance coverage or enrolled in the Medicaid program, primarily as the result of the ACA.

CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt says that as millions more Americans obtain health insurance, per-person cost growth remains at historically modest levels.