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US Healthcare Costs Annual Growth Rates Decelerate in January 2012

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 5.21% over the 12-months ending January 2012. This was a decline from the +5.30% annual growth rate posted for December 2011.

As measured by the S&P Healthcare Economic Commercial Index, healthcare costs covered by commercial insurance plans increased by 7.05% over the year ending January 2012, down from the +7.11% reported for December 2011. Growth rates in Medicare claim costs rose by 2.40%, as measured by the S&P Healthcare Economic Medicare Index, down from the +2.52% reported for December. The Professional Services Index’s annual growth rate also decelerated from its +5.37% December 2011 rate, increasing by 5.13% in January. The broad Hospital Index’s annual growth rate increased slightly to 5.03% in January from its +4.99% December pace.

Looking at the narrower sub-indices, the Professional Services Medicare Index hit a two-year low of +3.32% in January 2012, down from +3.73% in December 2011. The Hospital Medicare annual growth rate increased in January at +1.56%, it was up from its +1.48% December level. The Professional Services Commercial Index decelerated to +6.02% in January from +6.15% in December; and the Hospital Commercial Index marginally decreased to +7.84% in January from +7.85% in the previous month.



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