Health Care Spending Rises, But Trend in Prices Is Moderate

Staff portrait of Kathy Hempstead

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

Health care utilization is the main factor driving up health care spending, rather than an increase in the price in health care services suggests new spending data.

Kathy Hempstead examines the Altarum monthly trend report (February), detailing the rate of growth in health spending in the latter part of 2014. Health care spending increased by 5.0% through the first three quarters of 2014 compared to an increase of 3.6% in 2013.

Also contributing to the rise, health care job growth increased by approximately 100% between 2013 and 2014, and hospitals added 50,000 jobs over the last 6 months.

 

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.