Healthcare costs increase, S&P says

Oct 07, 2011

Healthcare costs have increased lately, a report says.

While the cost of life insurance has been going down lately, the cost of healthcare is on the rise, according to an S&P Indices report for the S&P Healthcare Economic Composite Index.

The average per capita cost of healthcare services covered by commercial insurance and Medicare programs increased by 5.7 percent over the past year according to the report. The index has seen a small increase in annual growth rates for three consecutive months. Meanwhile, Medicare claim costs rose at an annual rate of 2.35 percent, which is 5.67 percentage points below its high annual growth rate of 8.02 percent in November of 2009, the report said.

"In analyzing these statistics, we do want to remind you that growth rates in these indices reflect changes in healthcare costs, not just changes in healthcare prices," according to David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices. "While commercial costs are increasing at faster rates than Medicare, it could be attributed to a number of factors," Blitzer said, adding that Medicare is a single provider, whereas private insurers face competitive pressures and are likely to negotiate with heathcare providers more.

Whereas healthcare costs are up now, life insurance costs are less expensive the sooner a policy is purchased, according to the Houston Chronicle. The news source said it pays for consumers to buy when they're young and healthy because the "guaranteed level term" can be locked in when someone purchases a policy.

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