S&P: Annual growth rates decelerated in May

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 2.96% over the 12 months ending May 2013, decelerating from the +3.19% annual growth rate recorded in April.

All nine S&P Healthcare Economic Indices showed lower annual growth rates for May 2013 compared to April 2013. As measured by the S&P Healthcare Economic Commercial Index, healthcare costs covered by commercial insurance plans rose by 4.34% in May, down from +4.59% reported in April. Annual growth rates in Medicare costs increased by 0.85% in May, according to the S&P Healthcare Economic Medicare Index, down from a +1.07% rate recorded last month.

The Professional Services Index annual growth rate was +3.85% in May, down from the +4.26% April value. The Professional Services Commercial Index decelerated to +6.55% in May, down from +6.92% reported last month. The Professional Services Medicare annual growth rate hit a new low of -1.27% in May, down from -0.80% recorded in April.

The Hospital Index’s growth rate posted +1.97% in May, down from +2.05% reported in April. The Hospital Medicare Index recorded a +2.09% annual rate in May, down from +2.15% posted last month. The Hospital Commercial annual growth rate hit a new low of +1.85% in May, down from +1.94% recorded last month.

“The annual growth rates for all S&P Healthcare Indices decelerated in May,” says David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The annual growth rate for the Composite Index was +2.96%, for the Commercial Index was +4.34%, and for the Medicare Index was +0.85%.

“Four of the nine headline indices’ annual rates hit new lows in May. They were the Composite Index, the Commercial Index, the Professional Services Medicare Index, and the Hospital Commercial Index. In addition, the Professional Services Index growth rate hit its recent low in May.

“The Professional Services Medicare Index annual growth rate moved further into negative territory, hitting a new low of -1.27% in May, 47 basis points down from last month. It has the lowest annual growth rate among our healthcare indices. The Professional Services Commercial Index posted a +6.55% rate in May, 37 basis points down from its April rate. It remained the highest among the healthcare indices we cover.”

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