Hospitals and outpatient facilities seem to be doing a significantly better job at bargaining for higher rates from employer-sponsored health plans than physicians are this year.
Analysts at Milliman Inc., Seattle, have published data supporting that conclusion in their 2012 Milliman Medical Index report.
The analysts uses Milliman care cost guidelines data to estimate the average health care costs for a typical U.S. family of four receiving health care through an employer-sponsored preferred provider organization (PPO) plan.
Milliman looks at factors such as the cost of inpatient hospitalization, outpatient care, professional services and pharmacy services. The analysis does not include the cost of long term care, and it does not include insurance plan administration costs.
The average cost has increased 6.9% since 2011, to $20,728.
|Milliman Medical Cost Study
|Increases in the cost of care components between 2011 and 2012
|Source: Milliman Inc., Seattle
The average rate of increase is down from the 7.3% 2010-2011 increase Milliman reported a year ago. The average rate of increase is the lowest the Milliman analysts have recorded since they started doing the study 10 years ago.
The analysts found that costs continue to rise more rapidly for some types of care than for others.
Hospital costs are up 7.6%, and outpatient care costs are up 8.6%.