U.S. Healthcare Costs Up 5% in December 2011

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 a little more than 5 percent over the 12-months ending December 2011, according to a news release.

As measured by the S&P Healthcare Economic Commercial Index, healthcare costs covered by commercial insurance plans increased 7.11 percent over the year ending December 2011, up from the 6.63 percent growth reported in November. In addition, Medicare claim costs rose by 2.51 percent, up from the 2.15 percent reported in November.

In addition, the Hospital and Professional Services Indices annual growth rates also posted increases from their November 2011 rates. They increased 4.99 percent and 5.34 percent, respectively, from their December 2010 levels. These are above the annual rates posted in November 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. Alternatively, it is a weighted average of the S&P Healthcare Economic Hospital Index and the S&P Healthcare Economic Professional Services Index, as each of these indices has the analogous commercial and Medicare component.

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