Hospital prices for inpatient care climbed 19% over 5 years, UnitedHealth Group says

The cost of hospital inpatient services for privately insured individuals is on the rise, according to a new data brief by UnitedHealth Group.

An analysis conducted in 2019 of U.S. commercial hospital inpatient claims from 2013 through 2017 showed that hospital prices for inpatient services increased 19 percent, or about 4.5 percent annually, over the five-year period. Among common hospital inpatient services, the average annual increase in hospital prices was greatest for hypertension, at 6.5 percent.

Prices paid to physicians for providing inpatient services also increased between 2013 and 2017, by 10 percent, or about 2.5 percent annually, according to the data brief.

But UnitedHealth Group found that overall increased prices for inpatient care did not correspond to increased use of those services. Use of inpatient services delivered by hospitals and physicians each decreased 5 percent between 2013 and 2017.

Based on data from HHS and CMS, as well as National Health Expenditures Data and examination of commercial claims from 2018, UnitedHealth Group found the cost of hospital inpatient services for privately insured individuals per year was more than $200 billion in 2018 and estimated it will exceed $350 billion in 2029.

Read more about the analysis here.


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