Spending on workers covered on the job grew 3.3 percent per person in 2010, twice the general inflation rate, according to a report today from the Health Care Cost Institute, a Washington group that examined data from insurers including United Health Group Inc. (UNH) and Aetna Inc. (AET) While costs increased, enrollment in employer-sponsored plans declined, the researchers said.
U.S. medical spending almost doubled in the last decade, reaching $2.6 trillion in 2010, according to federal government statistics. Today’s data suggest policymakers may have to consider the market power of hospitals and doctors to try to tame that growth, said Martin Gaynor, an economist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh who helped write the report.
“Most of the increase was driven by increases in price,” Gaynor said in a telephone interview. “We see utilization falling moderately and the spending is still going up.”