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Money spent per capita on health care grows

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 7, 2012

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The growth rate for medical expenditures per person went up in February, according to data released April 19 by S&P Indices, a company affiliated with Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services.

The amount spent per capita on professional services, a category that incudes physicians, went up 5.2% for the 12 months prior to January but 5.7% for the 12-month period ending in February. The Professional Services Medicare Index had an annual growth rate of 3.3% in January but 3.6% in February. The index assessing professional services expenses for those covered by commercial insurance grew by 6% from January 2011 to January 2012 but had an annual rate of 6.8% in February.

“Last month’s data, which was through January 2012, had shown a slight deceleration in most types of health care costs, but this was likely an anomaly in the actual trend,” said David M. Blitzer, chair of the Index Committee at S&P Indices.Most data from government and other sources indicate that health care costs have continued to grow despite the recession and struggling economy, although more slowly than in the past.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/05/07/bibf0507.htm.

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