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RAND State Statistics reports a number of inflation databases, including Consumer Prices and Medical Care Inflation. Not surprisingly, Medical Care Inflation has outpaced inflation for most items over a long time period.
Medical care inflation consists of four components: Medical care commodities, Medical care services, Hospital and related services, and Health insurance. See here for additional detail on Medical Care Inflation categories.
Medical care services increased 8.5% from January 2017 to June 2020, an annual rate of 2.4%. Over the past decade, Medical care services increased 32.8%, an average annual rate of 2.9% (Figure 1).
Figure 1 – Medical Care Inflation Rates, June 2010 – June 2020
Hospital services also increased significantly from January 2017 to June 2020 BY 10.2%, an annual rate of 2.8%. From January 2010 to June 2020, hospital services increased 54.3%, an annual rate of 4.4% (Table 1).
Table 1 – Hospital Services Inflation Rates, 2010 – 2020
Health insurance inflation increased significantly, measuring plus 32.6% from January 2017 to June 2020, an annual rate of 9.9%. Health insurance rates increased minimally in 2017 and 2018, then proceeded to dramatically spike. From June 2019 to June 2020, health insurance increased 14.4% (Table 2).
Table 2 – Health Insurance Inflation Rates, January 2017-June 2020
Over the past 10 years, from January 2010 to June 2020, Health insurance inflation increased 66.5%, an annual rate of 5.2% (Figure 2).
Figure 2 – Health Insurance Inflation Rates, January 2010-June2020
Despite the mainstream attention towards the rising cost of prescription drugs, from January 2017 to June 2020 prescription drug inflation increased just 2.7%, an annual rate of .8% (Figure 3).
Figure 3 – Prescription Drug Inflation Rates, January 2017 – June 2020
Similarly, both Eyeglasses and eye care and Dental services increased minimally. From January 2017 to June 2020 Eyeglasses and eye care increased 2.7%, an annual rate of .8%. Dental services increased 7.1% from January 2017 to June 2020, an annual rate of 2.0% (Figure 4).
Figure 4 –Dental Services and Eyeglasses and Eye Care Inflation Rates, January 2017 – June 2020
Health insurance averages rose 32.6% from January 2017 to June 2020, an annual rate of nearly 10%. This is much higher than Medical care overall, which increased only 8.7% from January 2017 to June 2020, an annual rate of 2.8%. It appears the major spike in health insurance in July 2018 also impacted medical care inflation, which is relatively stagnant compared to health insurance averages (Figure 5).
Figure 5 – Health Insurance and Medical Care Inflation Rates, January 2017 - June 2020