Provisions in the Affordable Care Act that penalize hospitals for excessive readmissions and encourage employers to offer wellness programs are slowing the growth of U.S. medical costs, even as the economy rebounds.

Health-care costs for commercial insurers and employers are expected to rise about 4.5 percent next year after accounting for changes in benefits, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP said in a report today. The increase is a percentage point less than what the consulting company projected for 2013.

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