The average per capita cost of healthcare services covered by Medicare programs and commercial insurance grew by 5.28 % in 2011, nearly double the rate of inflation in the larger economy, Standard & Poor’s Healthcare Economic Indices show.
A further breakdown of S&P data shows that healthcare costs covered by commercial insurance plans grew by 7.11% in 2011, while Medicare claim costs rose by 2.51%, despite the government plans’ older and sicker population.
Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, told HealthLeaders Media that commercial plans must contend with cost-shifting and other market forces that do not affect Medicare. He says the cost growth acceleration also could be link to the recovering economy.
Medicynical Note: What’s not noted by Mr. Zirkelbach is that Medicare’s population is sicker, older and has greater need for care than the commercial plan population. Think he wants responsibility for this high risk group? Think private insurers will provide adequate coverage at reasonable cost to an elderly population with pre-existing illness? Think again.
Our non-system is not driven by concerns about care; not driven by worries about outcomes; not driven by the needs of patients. Rather it is the mandatory profit goals of providers, insurers and technology developers that drive our costs.
FYI last year the poor suffering private insurers had record profits. Guess who paid?