Feature

Health-care costs growing faster again

U.S. spending on health care surged 4.6 percent in 2011.

U.S. spending on health care surged 4.6 percent in 2011, breaking a two-year trend of smaller increases, the Health Care Cost Institute said this week. Experts believe the reason behind the increase was not Americans seeking more treatment but a rapid growth in the price of medical care. Average spending by people with employer-sponsored insurance rose to $4,547 in 2011, compared with $4,349 in 2010, suggesting that the recent downturn in health-care spending may have been a temporary side effect of the recession. “We don’t know yet whether this is a one-off year aberration or a resumption of patterns of higher growth,” said the institute’s director, David Newman.

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