Key Findings on Health Care Cost Trends

Photo of Katherine Hempstead

Katherine Hempstead, PhD, MA, director and senior program officer, leads RWJF's work on health insurance coverage.

New data suggest the increase in health care spending in the first three quarters of 2014 outpaced that of 2013 (5.0% vs. 3.6%).

Kathy Hempstead examined the January Altarum monthly trend report that concludes that it’s not a matter of health care prices going up, but rather an increase in utilization rates, especially prescription drug utilization.

She notes the rapid growth of health care jobs as a primary factor of the increase in health care spending, with health care job growth increasing by approximately 100 percent between 2013 and 2014.

About the series

Kathy Hempstead provides commentary on the Altarum Center for Sustainable Health Spending’s monthly trend reports. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, these trend reports provide a monthly summary of key trends in health care spending, prices, utilization, and employment.