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Price inflation for physician services stays flat

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 31, 2012

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The growth in the price per service paid to physicians by insurers and patients barely budged in November, but it was higher than inflation in the economy as a whole, according to the monthly report on the Consumer Price Index released Dec. 14 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The physician services category had a one-month inflation rate of 0.1% for November and an annual rate of 2.3%. Prices in the general economy went down 0.3% in November because gas prices declined. The annual overall inflation rate for November was 1.8%.

Health care prices traditionally have increased at a faster rate than overall inflation, but 2012 has been volatile. The monthly inflation rate for physician services has been higher than overall inflation for five months out of the 11 in 2012 for which data is available. The annual inflation rate for physician services was higher than overall inflation for six of the 11 months.

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