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Health Spending Set to Start Growing Faster

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Health spending’s been damped down by the recession but it’s set to start growing at a faster pace again next year, according to a new projection.

Spending by people whose employers provide their health insurance — that’s most Americans — will grow by 6.8 percent next year, the Health Research Institute at PriceWaterhouseCoopers predicts. That’s up from 6.5 percent growth for this year, but still modest compared to double-digit increases in the '90s and 2000s, the group says.

And PwC doesn’t see a return to that out-of-control growth that makes health spending $2.8 trillion a year in the U.S. — 17 percent of the annual gross domestic product. Health insurance plans that require high deductibles are making patients more cost-conscious, the group says, encouraging them to use fewer brand-name drugs and see the doctor less often.

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