But experts say the Affordable Care Act itself won’t stop the cost of health care from continuing to rise and consumers from paying bigger bills.
Insurance premiums — the monthly fees consumers pay to get coverage — continue to rise much faster than the 2% rate of overall inflation. In 2011, average premiums rose 8% for individual coverage and 9% for family coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
There are many reasons costs are going up; some apply to all patients, and others only to patients who get insurance through big insurance plans. But experts identify six main drivers.
Hospital care: Hospital care accounts for nearly one-third of the nation’s annual health care expenditures.
According to the American Hospital Association, factors driving up hospital costs include the rising cost of goods and services used for patient care — such as workers, equipment and information systems. Other factors are rising demand for care and compliance with regulatory requirements.