Healthcare costs rise, but at declining rate: S&P index
The average per-capita cost of healthcare services covered by commercial insurance and Medicare programs rose 5.77% in the 12 months ended in March, according to data in the S&P Healthcare Economic Composite Index. That rate of growth almost mirrors the lowest rate seen in the index’s six years of existence, which was 5.76% in June 2007, according to Standard & Poor’s, New York, which produces the index. Much of the drop in growth was driven by Medicare, where claim costs rose at an annual rate of 2.78%. Commercial insurance costs rose by 7.57% in the oneyear period. “If you look over the last year or so of data, it is apparent that the rates of increase in healthcare costs continue to slow down,” David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P, said in a news release. “While there was some volatility within months, the general trend has been a slowdown across all nine of the indices we publish,” he said.