ANN ARBOR, Mich., April 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The annual cost of healthcare for individuals with employer-sponsored health insurance rose 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 versus the fourth quarter of 2010 and 0.8 percent versus the third quarter of 2011, according to the Thomson Reuters Healthcare Spending Index for Private Insurance.
The index, which measures historical and current levels of per capita healthcare spending for people with employer-sponsored coverage, provides a benchmark measure of healthcare inflation. While the index rose 3.8 percent year-over-year though the fourth quarter of 2011, the overall rate of healthcare inflation slowed versus the 4.0 percent growth rate observed through the third quarter of 2010.
The index tracks key healthcare spending components such as hospital care, physician services, and prescription drugs. Hospital costs showed the steepest growth through the fourth quarter of 2011, increasing 5.6 percent annually. Both physician and drug costs reflected a 2.3 percent year-over-year hike, reflecting increases over both marks for the third quarter of 2011.
"Insurance costs are still on the rise," said Gary Pickens, chief research officer at the Thomson Reuters Center for Healthcare Analytics. "Hikes in all of the key areas would seem to imply the country has yet to reach a lull in spending."
Index estimates are based on the Thomson Reuters MarketScan® databases, a repository of healthcare claims for inpatient and outpatient services. The index represents the real-world treatment patterns and costs of more than 12 million employees and their dependents. Preliminary estimates are released quarterly, approximately 90 days after the period in which the healthcare services were used.
For a copy of the latest index findings, visit http://healthcare.thomsonreuters.com/indexes/assets/MarchIndexHSIPI.pdf
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SOURCE Thomson Reuters