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S&P report: Healthcare spending declining

By Patrick Ouellette

Recent numbers from S&P indicate that commercial insurance and Medicare programs are starting to foot the bill on average per capita healthcare costs much more than they did for all of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. But figures from April to May don’t look as promising.

Though the May 2012 6.05% year-over-year increase is slightly less than the +6.11% mark in April, number still represents positive growth for healthcare coverage. Commercial insurance is pulling most of the weight at 8.38 percent, while Medicare claim costs rose by only 2.52 percent. The government is slowly starting to make good on its promise to funnel more cash into healthcare.

The S&P Healthcare Economic Composite Index uses publicly-available data to estimate the per capita change in revenues accrued by hospitals and physicians for services provided to patients covered under the Medicare program. The S&P Healthcare Economic Indices, shown in the chart below, report that in May, the Professional Services Medicare Index increased only 2.89%. This was the lowest figure since 2009 and lower than the 3.11 percent mark in April. The biggest drop-off from April to May was in Hospital Commercial annual growth rate. On the other hand, the Professional Services Commercial rate tipped up 29 basis points from 7.70% in April to 7.99% in May.

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