The Consumer Price Index for hospital services increased 0.2% last month as outpatient hospital prices edged upward, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show.
Outpatient hospital prices increased 0.4% last month and offset the 0.1% decline to the inpatient hospital Consumer Price Index for the month. The figures are seasonally adjusted.
The Consumer Price Index is the narrower of two inflation measures the agency releases monthly. It measures the change in prices paid by commercial insurers and patients' out-of-pocket spending. The Producer Price Index, a broader measure of inflation that includes prices paid by Medicare, Medicaid, private plans and other payers, declined for the first time in its history in January. Low healthcare inflation has helped hold down U.S. healthcare spending.
The hospital Consumer Price Index increased 4.3% in January from the same month a year ago, compared with 4.8% growth in January 2014 from January 2013.
The physician office Consumer Price Index increased 0.1% last month and grew 1.7% during the year that ended in January. That's comparable with the prior year, when the physician office prices increased 1.6%.
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