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Altarum: Growth of healthcare prices finally dropped below inflation—and that trend may be here to stay

December 19, 2018 / Paige Minemyer

Healthcare prices are growing at a rate that’s slower than the overall inflation rate, and there are signs that this trend may be the new normal. In series of briefs on healthcare spending, employment and price growth, Altarum said it found that the Health Care Price Index (HCPI) increased by 1.5% last month compared to an inflation rate of about 2% for the entire economy. And this is no statistical blip. Instead, it marks the 16th month in a row that inflation in the economy as whole has outpaced inflation in healthcare, indicating that the reversal of long-time trends could be here to stay. For hospitals, that means it’s become increasingly necessary to take a good, hard look at cost structures, Paul Hughes-Cromwick, co-director of sustainable health spending strategies at Altarum and the report’s author, told FierceHealthcare.