Among the factors expected to drive an increase in health care costs are conditions that worsened due to delayed or avoided care and may require more expensive treatment.

Few things are more certain in American life than the rising cost of health care. In 1969, only 6.4% of the gross domestic product was spent on health care, according to the federal government. In 2019, that figure was 17.7% of GDP. Health care spending in October 2021 (the most recent month for which data is available) reached 23.9% of GDP.

And so while it is a likely bet that costs will continue to rise in 2022, nothing is normal during the pandemic. Cost projections are being made under uncertain conditions due to unexpected COVID-19 surges, unknown long-term impacts of the coronavirus on infected individuals, potential downstream effects of delayed and avoided care, and the ongoing labor shortages in the health care sector.

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