Carmel, CA Medicare Claim Costs Drop In June From May Levelsby Richard Kuehn on 08/16/12
Health care costs are in the spotlight with the new health care reform law (the Affordable Care Act) changing a number of facets of the business. Doctors are having to do more with less and new rules are requiring hospitals and other medical facilities to prove that they are increasing customer service while cutting costs. S&P Dow Jones has been releasing monthly Healthcare Cost Indices to show what progress is being made. The June data was released today and showed:
The average per capita cost of healthcare services covered by commercial insurance and Medicare programs increased by 5.78% over the 12-months ending June 2012 -- a deceleration from the +6.06% annual growth rate recorded in May 2012 and +6.11% rate in April 2012.
As measured by the S&P Healthcare Economic Commercial Index, healthcare costs covered by commercial insurance plans increased by 8.09% over the year ending June 2012, down from the +8.40% reported for May 2012.
Annual growth rates in Medicare claim costs rose by 2.27%, according to the S&P Healthcare Economic Medicare Index, down from the +2.50% recorded in May 2012.
The Professional Services Index annual growth rate was +6.07% in June 2012, down from the +6.28% May 2012 print. The growth rate of the Hospital Index fell to +5.22% in June from its +5.56% annual rate in May.
Source: S&P Healthcare Economic Indices
The S&P Healthcare Economic Indices estimate the per capita change in revenues accrued each month by hospital and professional services facilities for services provided to patients covered under traditional Medicare and commercial health insurance programs in the U.S. It's an important metric, but must be analyzed in conjunction with other data. Some believe that many seniors have stopped going to the doctor as much because of the rising cost of co-pays and gas. So it's possible that we may see an uptick in Medicare and other health insurance claim costs simply due to people going to the doctor more as they feel better about the economy.