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15 Things That Will Cost More in 2021

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Sergei Gnatiuk/istockphoto

Medical Condition

In a normal year, it's relatively easy to predict which products and services will cost more in the near future — in many industries, pricing patterns tend to repeat themselves on an annual basis. This year, however, has been anything but normal. Gauging what will cost more in 2021 and what won't has been muddled by the pandemic and its effect on nearly every segment of the economy. There are, however, a few things that will almost certainly require you to spend a little more. 

Related: 11 Essential Things That Are Suddenly More Expensive Because of the Pandemic

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ACA Marketplace Health Insurance

Any discussion about rising prices in 2021 must start with the cost of health care. Insurers that participate in the Affordable Care Act marketplace announced average premium rate increases of 8.4% in the coming year. They expect the cost of health care to rise for two reasons. First is the direct cost of testing and treating millions of COVID-19 patients. The second is more indirect: Waves of people put off regular care in 2020, which will lead to more visits to more medical professionals in 2021 as those who deferred care last year race to catch up. Many of those who did postpone care and checkups will become sicker and more expensive to treat.

Related: How Will the Pandemic Affect My Health Insurance Costs?

Medicare Deductions
Prescription Drugs

Medicare Prescription Drug Benefits

Medicare recipients will pay more in 2021 not only for care and hospital stays, but for prescription drug coverage as well. Premiums for Medicare Part D plans will increase by an average $3, to $41 from $38. While $3 might not sound like much, that's a rate hike of 9%. 

Related: 18 Prescription Drugs That Cost More Than a Car

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Several forces converged to create a sizzling-hot seller's housing market in 2020. Masses of newly minted telecommuters had the freedom to relocate for the first time just as mortgage rates hit record lows. According to Forbes, buyer demand has continued to grow as the year comes to a close, and home prices are expected to rise by 5.7% in 2021 on top of 2020's already high prices. 

Related: New Rules for Buying and Selling a Home During the Pandemic

Cheapest Shipping


The shipping industry emerged as a savior in 2020, with UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, and FedEx trucks serving as lifelines to the masses. Those lifelines will cost a bit more in the new year. Postal Service fees are set to increase by an average of 4.9% in 2021, likewise for DHL, UPS, and FedEx, all hiking their rates by the same 4.9%.

Related: Shipping Cost Comparison: USPS vs. UPS vs. FedEx

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Car Insurance

2020 saw the greatest change in driving habits in modern U.S. history, with total driving cut in half thanks to economic shutdowns that forced school and work to take place in the home. With all those cars off the road and their customers struggling financially, most insurers lowered rates, eliminated or reduced fees and penalties, and offered special relief programs. In 2021, however, some of those same insurers will lift many emergency relief measures and increase rates as people begin to drive more. 

Related: 17 New Rules for Buying and Selling a Car During the Pandemic

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For the most part, traditional weddings came to a screeching halt in 2020 — and flower farms, caterers, bands, and planners all watched their incomes dry up. Those who had been saving for what would have been their big day in 2020 got to save even more, and they should expect to spend even more, according to Brides magazine. Not only will the vendors in the wedding industry have to raise prices to make up for 2020's hideous losses, but demand will be especially high as brides and grooms who put off tying the knot out of necessity last year compete with the more recently engaged for venues and services in 2021. 

Streaming Services
Small Business Stock Awareness


Despite the disease, chaos, unemployment, and mass closings of businesses, the stock market recovered quickly from its spring collapse and roared back to record highs. According to Yahoo Finance, many experts expect the S&P 500 to keep rising and for stocks to get even more expensive as coronairus vaccines indicate brighter days ahead in 2021. 

Related: 15 Industries That Would Benefit From a Recession

gold bullion
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Gold investors might be in for a pleasant surprise come 2021, according to Forbes — but anyone in the market for jewelry or anything else made from the yellow metal might want to budget a little extra. Gold prices slumped after peaking in the summer as digital currency and stocks began to soar. Now, it's a good bet that gold will soon cost more. The reason is as old as the hills: The cost of gold rises when the government prints too much money. The government spent trillions of dollars as part of its coronavirus relief efforts and took on more debt in less than one year than it did in the previous decade combined. 

Related: Not into Stocks and Bonds? Here are 12 Alternative Investments to Consider

Natural Gas
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The pandemic smothered demand for gasoline, but when drivers return to the road, prices at the pump are sure to rise, according to Kiplinger. It's about $2.16 per gallon right now — about 50 cents less than this time in 2019. Oil was down to under $40 per barrel for much of the fall, but that climbed back up to $47 by mid-December. Kiplinger expects the price to rise to $50 a barrel as the winter drags on and perhaps even higher as the weather warms. 

Related: The Cost of Gas the Year You Were Born

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Air Travel (Maybe)

The travel industry was hit harder than just about all by the pandemic, and airlines have a lot of lost profits to make up for once people start traveling again. According to Travel Noir, patterns after 9/11 and the 2008 recession indicate that prices will remain low, fees will continue to be waived, and deals will be easy to find as the recovery begins and airlines compete to win back customers. If the situation improves enough for widespread air travel to be possible by summer, however, flyers should expect to pay top dollar to finally get out and see the world. That, of course, is a big if.

Related: This U.S. Airline Has Cut 76% of Its Routes

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Everything (Thanks to Inflation)

The buying power of a dollar declines steadily over time thanks to the phenomenon of inflation — and no virus can stop it completely. 2020 will draw to a close with the inflation rate at 1.2%, which is well below the 2.3% it was at this time in 2019. Publications such as Kiplinger, however, predict that as the pandemic recovery begins, prices will begin to rise, and inflation will grow, though likely remaining low compared to historic standards.

Related: Why Pennies Still Exist and Other Money Trivia