Healthcare prices growing slowly: 4 findings

Healthcare prices in the U.S. showed low growth in the first half of 2018, according to an analysis from nonprofit health systems research and consulting organization Altarum.

Four findings:

1. Spending on healthcare services grew by 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2018 and 4.9 percent in the second quarter of this year. This brings growth in spending on healthcare services to 4.6 percent for the first half of 2018, compared to 4.5 percent for all of 2017 and 4.8 percent for all of 2016.

2. Private payer health spending growth has outpaced Medicare and Medicaid spending growth since 2016. Private payer health spending growth reached its top point in the first quarter of 2018, at 7.4 percent. In the same quarter, Medicare and Medicaid spending growth averaged 2.3 percent.

The gap between private payer and public payer spending growth narrowed in the second quarter of this year. Altarum said the gap between the two is attributable to price growth and healthcare utilization and intensity under private insurance versus under Medicare and Medicaid.

3. Healthcare prices grew by 2 percent in the second quarter of 2018, up from 1.75 percent in the first quarter of this year.

4. Overall, healthcare prices grew by 1.9 percent in the first half of 2018.

Read the full analysis here.

 

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