Data released today by S&P Dow Jones Indices for 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 3.02% over the 12-months ending March 2013, decelerating from the +3.11% annual growth rate recorded in February. It posted the lowest rate of growth since January 2005.
Seven of the nine S&P Healthcare Economic Indices showed slower annual growth rates for March 2013 compared to February 2013. Annual growth rates for five of the healthcare indices hit their historic lows in March. As measured by the S&P Healthcare Economic Commercial Index, healthcare costs covered by commercial insurance plans rose by 4.46% in March, down from +4.63% reported for February. The Commercial Index rate hit its historic low in March. Annual growth rates in Medicare costs increased by 0.82%, according to the S&P Healthcare Economic Medicare Index, up from +0.78% recorded last month.
The Hospital Index’s growth rate hit its historic low of +1.86% in March, down from +1.92% recorded in February. The Hospital Medicare Index posted a +1.89% annual rate in March, up from +1.73% recorded last month. The Hospital Commercial annual growth rate hit its historic low of +1.81% in March; it posted +2.03% in February.