Surprise! Cost curve in health spending bending upward even more

Growth in national health spending, which had dropped to historic lows in recent years, has snapped back and is set to continue at a faster pace over the next decade, federal actuaries said Tuesday.

The return to bigger growth is a result of expanded insurance coverage under the 2010 health law, a revived economy and crunchtime as Medicare’s baby-boom beneficiaries enter their 70s.

American spending on all health care grew 5.5% in 2014 from the previous year and will grow 5.3% this year, according to a report from actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published in the journal Health Affairs. In the years through 2024, spending growth is expected to average 5.8%, peaking at 6.3% in 2020.