Medical care not feeling the inflation bite yet, Kaiser Foundation says

The medical care industry is not yet seeing the rising prices that have affected other parts of the U.S. economy, according to a June 2 Kaiser Family Foundation report. 

Overall prices grew by 8.3 percent between April 2021 and April 2022, according to the report, but healthcare prices only rose 3.2 percent in that span. 

"This is unusual, as health prices historically outpace prices in the rest of the economy," the Kaiser Family Foundation stated in the report. "However, the relatively high rate of inflation seen in the rest of the economy may eventually translate to higher prices for medical care. This may lead to steeper premium increases in the coming years."   

Medical care price growth is currently in line with historic averages. Between 2001 and 2022, prices for medical care increased 1.5 percent to 4.8 percent. 

Healthcare prices are generally set in advance, which could create a delay before wage increases and other costs related to broader inflation are fully incorporated into healthcare prices, according to the report. 

"As insurers set premiums for next year over the coming months, a better picture will emerge of how their price negotiations with healthcare providers are playing out," the Kaiser Family Foundation said.

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