S&P: Annual growth rates remain stable in July

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 3.06% over the 12 months ending July 2013, remaining flat at the level recorded in June.

Four of the nine S&P Healthcare Economic Indices showed the same annual growth rates for July 2013 as for June 2013. They were the Composite Index, the Medicare Index, the Commercial Index, and the Hospital Medicare Index. As measured by the S&P Healthcare Economic Commercial Index, healthcare costs covered by commercial insurance plans rose by 4.15% in July. Annual growth rates in Medicare costs increased by 1.40% in July, according to the S&P Healthcare Economic Medicare Index. The Hospital Medicare Index’s growth rate recorded 2.29% in July. These indices’ growth rates remain flat from June to July.

SPHealthcare_July_2013_Chart

The Hospital Index’s growth rate posted 2.30% in July, up from 2.10% reported in June. The Hospital Commercial annual growth rate was 2.30% in July, up from 1.94% recorded in June.

The Professional Services Index annual growth rate hit a recent low of 3.70% in July; it was down from 3.93% posted in June. The Professional Services Commercial Index decelerated to 5.77% in July, down from 6.10% reported the previous month. The Professional Services Medicare annual growth rate hit a new low of -0.26% in July, down from -0.23% recorded in June. This is the only index of the nine headline indices that remains in the negative territory.

“Since last summer we saw healthcare cost growth rates dropping and now they are stabilized near recent levels for most of the indices. The indices’ growth rates are among the lowest since the indices’ start date in 2005. Four of the nine headline indices’ annual rates remained flat between June and July,” says David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The annual growth rate for the S&P Healthcare Composite Index was 3.06%, the annual growth rate for the Commercial Index was 4.15%, and for the Medicare Index was 1.40%.

“The Hospital Index posted a 2.30% annual growth rate in July; it accelerated by 20 basis points since June. The Hospital Medicare Index remained flat at 2.29% since June. The Hospital Commercial Index posted a 2.30% annual rate, accelerating by 36 basis points. It has the highest acceleration among the healthcare indices covered.

“The Professional Services Index annual growth rate hit a recent low of 3.70% in July, 23 basis points down from the month before. The Professional Services Medicare Index growth rate hit a new low of -0.26% in July, three basis point down from June. It has the lowest annual growth rate among our healthcare indices and remains the only negative one. The Professional Services Commercial Index posted a 5.77% rate in July, 33 basis points down from its June value. It remained the highest among the healthcare indices we cover.”

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