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Health Care Price Inflation Slowest In 15 Years


  10:15:30 am, by MedBen5   , 199 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription, Health Plan Management

Health Care Price Inflation Slowest In 15 Years

Health care price inflation from January 2012 to January 2013 was only 1.5% – the lowest rate since December 1997, according to MedPage Today.

“The Health Care Price Index was driven lower by declines in hospital, home health, nursing home, and prescription drug price growth, and mostly stable rates for the other categories,” says a report released this week by the Altarum Institute, a research and consulting firm.

Pharmacy costs reflected a similar downturn. “The year-over-year prescription drug price rate of 1.6% for January is the lowest reading since 1.4% in January 2009. Physician price growth ticked down to 0.6% (from 0.7% in December), the lowest reading since 0.6% in September 2008,” the report notes.

In other categories, the year-over-year hospital price growth rate – which the authors called a “key health price index driver” – was 2.0%, down from 2.2% in December, the report noted.

The authors attribute the slow price growth in part to a drop of utilization of health care services. “Moderate growth in health spending implies low per-capita utilization growth by spending component, with the January 2013 reading 1.4% higher than January 2012, and a 12-month average growth of 1.4%.” But the slow increase also reflects smaller growth in the overall economy – the Consumer Price Index fell slightly last December from the previous year.

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