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Healthcare spending growth to drop next year, PwC report finds

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Spending on health care will slow down in 2014 despite a flood of new patients who will have insurance, according to a new study.

The PwC Health Research Institute study, titled Medical Cost Trend: Behind the Numbers, forecasts 6.5% inflation in healthcare spending despite the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act adding millions of new patients. The report noted that the slowdown in spending was contrary to the experience of previous recessions.

"The health industry is at an inflection point as it rebalances, realigns and prepares for full-scale transformation from fee-for-service medicine to consumer-centered, accountable care," PwC U.S. health industries leader Kelly Barnes said. "Change of this magnitude takes time and will come in stages. Health organizations should learn to adapt to a market in which growth may be lower in the near term and pursue new sources of growth often in unlikely places."

According to the study, structural changes in the healthcare industry are helping keep costs down and deliver care more efficiently, while consumers are making spending adjustments, delaying care, using fewer services and choosing less expensive options like retail clinics, urgent care centers and mobile health devices.

"Healthcare cost increases continue to exceed overall growth in wages, but the gap appears to be shrinking," PwC human resource services practice principal Michael Thompson said. "The long-term trends suggest that as the economy improves, the cycle of runaway cost increases will be broken."


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Pirate’s Booty announces collaboration with Disney Pixar for new cheese puffs

BY Jason Owen

SEA CLIFF, N.Y. — Smart Puffs, all-natural cheese puffs from the makers of Pirate’s Booty, announced today its collaboration with Disney Pixar’s “Monsters University,” an all-new 3-D animated comedy adventure that opens in U.S. theaters on June 21, 2013. As the exclusive salty snack for the film, Smart Puffs is made with real, all-natural ingredients and baked into crunchy puffs.

 

Smart Puffs is made from milled American corn and real Wisconsin cheddar cheese. Smart Puffs is also gluten-, peanut- and tree nut-free. The limited-edition “Monsters University” Smart Puffs package features Mike and Sulley and details about the Scary Smart Sweepstakes.

“We are excited to collaborate with this summer’s highly-anticipated animated film, ‘Monsters University,’” stated Eric Berniker, Pirate’s Booty VP of marketing. “This is the perfect collaboration — while Mike and Sulley are getting smart and scary at Monsters University, we’re offering consumers a smarter way to snack with Smart Puffs, and parents a chance to win $10,000 towards their child’s education with the Scary Smart Sweeps."

“The ‘Monsters University’ edition of Smart Puffs is a great way to extend the fun and bring the film to life with a snack that the whole family can feel good about eating,” said Don Gross, Disney global promotions vice president.

Parents can text “SMART” to 82257* to enter for a chance to win $10,000 toward their child’s education in the Scary Smart Sweepstakes. The sweepstakes is happening now through July 15.


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Energizer Personal Care inks licensing partnership with agency Brandgenuity

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Energizer Personal Care, which is a division of Energizer Holdings, has announced a partnership with New York-based licensing agency Brandgenuity LLC to extend the reach of its Hawaiian Tropic, Banana Boat and Playtex brands.

"At Energizer Personal Care, we strive to deliver high-quality products to our loyal consumers," stated Jim Alsante, group marketing director at Energizer Personal Care. "Playtex, Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic are three of our most powerful brands, and we’re thrilled to partner with Brandgenuity to bolster and deepen their reach. Brandgenuity has a proven, dynamic portfolio, and we are confident they are the best partner to deliver real results."

"We’re thrilled Energizer Personal Care has selected Brandgenuity to explore strategic and thoughtful licensing opportunities for these three iconic brands," added Jay Asher, partner at Brandgenuity. "We are looking forward to working together to extend into products that support the active healthy outdoor lifestyle and caring for baby."

 

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