News Briefs: Inflation Hasn’t Yet Affected Health Care Prices
Inflation has not yet impacted health care prices, according to new research from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). The KFF studyreports that in the 12 months ending in April 2022, “overall prices grew by 8.3% from the previous year, while prices for medical care increased by only 3.2%.” The authors added, “This is unusual, as health prices historically outpace prices in the rest of the economy. However, the relatively high rate of inflation seen in the rest of the economy may eventually translate to higher prices for medical care. This may lead to steeper premium increases in the coming years.” Generally speaking, according to the report, prices have grown faster for commercial insurance than public payers, a trend that held up in 2022. Though inflation is greater than it has been for a generation, its impact is likely delayed in health care because of contracting cycles. “Health prices are generally set in advance, administratively or via private insurance contracting, so there may be a delay in observable price increases,” the authors observe.