S&P: Average Healthcare Costs Up 5% Over 12 Months

The S&P Healthcare Economic Composite Index indicates that the average per capita cost of healthcare services covered by commercial insurance and Medicare programs increased by 5.11 percent over the 12-months ending Oct. 2011.

The S&P Healthcare Economic Composite Index is a weighted average of the S&P Healthcare Economic Commercial Index and the S&P Healthcare Economic Medicare Index. The 5.11 percent annual growth rate posted for October 2011 is up from the 4.74 percent annual growth rate posted in September 2011.

Broken out, healthcare costs covered by commercial insurance increased by 6.91 percent over the year ending Oct.2011. This annual rate has risen for a fourth consecutive month. Similarly, growth rates in Medicare claim costs rose from its September low of 2.03 percent to an annual rate of 2.39 percent.

"Healthcare cost growth rates seem to be stopping, if not reversing, the downward trend we had seen since the spring of 2010," said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices.

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