Medicaid growth expected to slow, Medicare to accelerate

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Seema Verma
Seema Verma

Medicaid is projected to grow at a 5.8% rate through 2026, slower than previous years, according to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Actuary data released Wednesday.

From 2014 to 2016, Medicaid grew at an 8.3% rate due to expansions through the Affordable Care Act. The program is the largest payer of U.S. long-term care services.

Total health spending this year is projected to grow by 5.3%, according to CMS and a report published in Health Affairs.

Luckily for long-term care providers, Medicare is projected to experience the most rapid annual growth at 7.4%. That's due to larger numbers of beneficiaries who can enroll, and faster growth in utilization.

Spending growth in nursing care and continuing care retirement communities is expected to jump from 3% annually in 2013 to 5.3% by 2026, hitting around $261 billion in expenditures by 2026. By 2026, federal, state and local governments are projected to finance 47% of national health spending, leading CMS executives to note how much government provides payment to providers.

“Today's report from the independent CMS Office of the Actuary shows that healthcare spending is expected to continue growing more quickly than the rest of the economy,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “This is yet another call to action for CMS to increase market competition and consumer choice within our programs to help control costs and ensure that our programs are available for future generations.”