Skilled nursing, CCRC spending being driven to new heights — moderately: report

Long-term care providers are participating in 'most ambitious test' of bundled payments, CMS announc
Long-term care providers are participating in 'most ambitious test' of bundled payments, CMS announc

The rapid growth of America's aging population will cause long-term care spending to continue to climb over the next 10 years, reaffirmed the latest Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service's National Health Expenditures report.

The NHE report shows that spending on skilled nursing and continuing care retirement communities will grow at an average rate of 5.2% per year until 2024. The annual growth rate for 2015 checks in at 4.3%, a significant jump from 2.8% in 2014 but lower than pre-recession rates.

That growth will increase total spending on SNFs and CCRCs to $196 billion in 2018, and $274 billion by 2024, according to the NHE report. By comparison, Medicare beneficiaries spent $160 billion on both SNF and CCRC facilities last year. This year, the figure is set to be $167 billion.

The home healthcare industry is expected to grow even faster over the next decade, at an average annual rate of 6.3%. Overall, healthcare spending is expected to increase at a 5.8% annual growth rate by 2024.

CMS economists speaking on a conference call Monday attributed the expected growth in healthcare spending to the increasing number of baby boomers who will age into the Medicare program and require more care in the coming years.