However, PwC also noted factors that could "inflate" healthcare spending growth in 2013. First, as more jobs are added in the economy, those newly hired workers will likely tap into their new healthcare benefits. Second, many patients who've postponed elective surgery over the past few years may feel more confident about spending in 2013 as the economy slowly recovers.
"We have seen lab and elective procedures increasing after a drop off in past years. Some of our studies cite 46% of consumers we surveyed who had delayed care one or more times because of cost," Judy says.
Employers focus on wellness, cost sharing
Employers have embraced a two-pronged approach to reducing healthcare cost growth that relies on an increasing use of workplace wellness programs and foisting more costs onto employees.
"We are seeing huge growth in the high-deductible plans and cost sharing is one of the things that employers and insurance companies are increasingly adopting as they look at benefit design," Judy says. "All indications from the surveys we have done are that they are going to continue to increase. That is making patients more in tune with the way they consume healthcare in this country."