S&P Charts 6 Percent Annual Jump in Healthcare Costs in April 2012

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The average, per capita cost of healthcare services—including Medicare and privately insured patients—is up six percent year-over-year in the month of April 2012, as measured by the S&P Healthcare Economic Composite Index. According to Standard and Poor’s, this increase is a half-percentage-point jump over March 2012 year-over-year figures. The cost of care covered by commercial insurers was up nearly nine percent as compared with April 2011 figures, accounting for the bulk of the increase. Medicare claim costs increased 2.6 percent in the same period. The S&P Professional Services Index saw its annual growth rate climb a half-percentage point from March to April 2012, and the Hospital Index annual growth rate increased by a nearly identical measure. In a press release accompanying the announcement, David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices said that market watchers will note “a clear upward trend across all annual growth rates” since October 2011, the ceiling of which he believes has been approached. “We are now witnessing sustained increases in healthcare costs,” Blitzer said. “In April, all the nine indices we publish saw increases in their annual growth rates.”