The Takeaway: Health-Care Costs Rise Faster Than U.S. Inflation Rate

Higher charges by doctors, hospitals and drug companies have resulted in healthcare costs that have risen even faster than the rate of inflation, according to a survey released today by the Health Care Cost Institute, a nonprofit research organization in Washington DC.

The study found that health care costs rose 3.3 percent in 2010 even though people actually used fewer services in many categories.  The average price of prescription drugs rose 3 percent; inpatient admissions cost 5.1 percent;  more and the price of outpatient visits increased 10 percent, researchers reported.

See also: Poll: What It’s Like To Be Sick In America.

The biggest increases in facility prices were in outpatient surgery, 8.9 percent; outpatient emergency room visits, 11 percent, and mental health and substance abuse inpatient admissions, at 8.6 percent. Out-of-pocket spending increased 7.1 percent in 2010 to $689 per individual.

The study was based on information provided by four of the nation’s largest insurers – Aetna, Humana, Kaiser Permanente and UnitedHealthcare – who provided 3 billion claims filed in 2010 by people with employer-sponsored insurance.

For the full report go to the Health Care Cost Institute’s website.

Monday Quick Hits

  • Bee Gees’ Robin Gibb dies. Robin Gibb,  who was one of the trio that helped create the disco craze of the 1970, died Sunday of complication caused cancer at age 62.
  • Style After 60.  Making its debut this week is a new book that showcases the fashion flair of older women.  Advanced Style, published by powerhouse books, features photographs of street fashion of stylish sixty-something females.