Healthcare sees moderate uptick in prices, spending

Although hospital prices rose 1.6 percent during the month of August, they still showed only relatively modest growth over the past year, according to AHA News Now .

Prices between August 2011 and August 2012 ticked up a mere 3.8 percent, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Produced Price Index.

The price rise is similar to trending data recently released from the Michigan-based Altarum Institute. According to Altarum's data, overall healthcare expenditures rose 4.2 percent compared to July 2011. The overall average growth for 2012 is 4.3 percent, which is down significantly from the 5.2 percent increase reported in 2011.

"Slightly higher health spending in July nevertheless continues the moderate growth experienced in 2012 and the second half of 2011," Altarum Direct Charles Roehrig said Thursday in a statement. "If this trend persists for the remainder of 2012, it will signal a return to the historically low growth rates seen in 2009 and 2010. Also, with extremely low health price growth, any uptick in spending will require increases in utilization that seem unlikely in this environment."

To learn more:
- read the AHA News Now brief
- read the BLS August PPI report (.pdf)
- here's the Altarum Institute statement