SPARTAN — The most well-known and successful company in the United States is going to have to pay a price for the way it handled the rollout of the military’s most ambitious health care overhaul in nearly a decade.
A new report from the Institute for Medicine says the Department of Veterans Affairs paid about $3.8 billion in premiums and other costs for its health care in 2017, the latest year for which figures are available.
The Department of Health and Human Services declined to provide figures for 2018, citing a lawsuit over the issue.
But the institute estimates that the VA paid more than $5.5 billion in premium payments and other expenses in 2017.
The VA spent more than four times as much in 2018 than it did in 2016, according to the report.
Its expenses for 2017 exceeded $1.9 billion, the institute said.
The department said it’s in the process of reviewing its 2016 costs.
It said it is evaluating the impact of some new policies that take effect Jan. 1 and that the department is committed to improving the quality of care and the efficiency of care.
It also said it continues to work with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on an update to its cost-sharing system.
In its report, the IOM estimated that the federal government spent $7.6 billion on premiums and costs in 2018, an increase of about $2 billion from 2017.
That compares with $1 billion in 2017 and $1 million in 2016.
The institute says it expects the cost of premiums and related costs to increase in 2019 and 2020.
The report was issued Thursday and has been circulating for months.
The IOM and the VA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The healthcare sector is growing at a slower pace than the broader economy.
The U.S. economy expanded by just 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter, according the Commerce Department.
The agency expects the economy to grow at an annual rate of 3.6 percent.
The government’s healthcare program is expected to grow by a much smaller 1.3 percent this year.
The VA’s budget grew by just over 3 percent.