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U.S. Healthcare Costs Accelerate Slightly

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, March 18, 2011

In 2010, the average per capita cost of healthcare services covered by commercial health plans and Medicare programs rose 6.06%, matching the lowest growth rates in four years. A further S&P breakdown for 2010 shows that – even with its older, sicker population and higher utilization, Medicare's growth in per capita costs – at 3.27% in 2010 – was less than half the rate of cost growth for commercial plans, which saw an increase of 7.75% for the year.

The S&P indices estimate the per capita change in revenues accrued each month by hospital and professional services facilities for services provided to patients covered under traditional Medicare and commercial health insurance programs. The annual growth rates are determined by calculating a percent change of the 12-month moving averages of the monthly index levels versus the same month of the prior year.

The Standard & Poor's Healthcare Economic Indices for January may be viewed here.


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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