Managed Care Outlook

2025: Many more elderly, many more specialists

There will be a lot more demand for vascular surgeons and cardiologists by 2025, according to a study in Health Affairs. At 31%, vascular surgery has the highest projected demand growth.

Demand will vary by state. So while there will be a 20–25% increase in demand for cardiology services nationally over the next decade, “the projected increase in demand ranges from 5% in West Virginia to 51% in Nevada,” the authors write.

Researchers constructed a model that takes into account a growing and aging population as well as better access to health care, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. The population is expected to grow 9.5% between 2013 and 2025, but the number of people 65 and older is expected to grow 45%.

Advances in technology will be one of the wild cards, say the authors, and “can lead to increased demand for services and providers (for example, new treatment options) as well as to reduce demand (such as cures for chronic conditions).”

They add that “the increased use of value-based insurance design and efforts to make patients and providers more cost-conscious might reduce demand for service.”

Projected growth in demand for full-time equivalent physicians in selected specialties, 2013–2025

Source: “An Aging Population and Growing Disease Burden Will Require a Large and Specialized Health Care Workforce by 2025,” Health Affairs, Nov. 2013.

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