Blog Post

Insight: Medical Inflation: Where Are We Now?

By: Laura Summers

Back in 2019, I wrote about “Medical Inflation in Utah: The Ups and Downs of Data and Measurement.” The recent rise in inflation motivated me to revisit the issue to examine current trends and see how medical inflation compares to general inflation today.

Medical Inflation Today

Given concerns about overall economic inflation, it may be surprising to learn that medical inflation is slowing and approaching some of the lowest levels in history (Figure 1). A look at medical inflation over the last 20 years highlights this slowed growth (Figure 2). Except for a significant increase from 2019-2020 (4.7%), medical inflation growth continued to slow over the past three years.

Figure 1:  U.S. Medical Care Inflation, 1949‒2023

Note: Seasonally Adjusted Annual Inflation.

Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI-All Urban Consumers (Current Series).

Figure 2:  U.S. Medical Care Inflation, 2003‒2023

Note: Seasonally Adjusted Annual Inflation.