How Rising Hospital Prices are Impacting Inflation

Posted on June 25, 2024 at 10:11am by

As most Americans experience the impacts of inflation on their daily lives by means of increased grocery and gas prices, many might not realize the impact of medical care at hospitals on inflation rates in the United States.

Hospitals were not as quick to increase prices during the pandemic compared to supermarkets, retailers and restaurants. However, costs are beginning to significantly increase, with patient costs jumping nearly 8% in April 2024 compared to the same month in 2023, according to the Department of Labor, marking the highest increase in any month in almost 14 years.

Several hospital procedures are seeing price increases of as much as $700, which translates to a 4.5% increase. These price escalations are impacting patients and employers as well, with higher health insurance premiums and limited wage hikes.

For the first waves of inflation in the economy, hospitals held prices steady due to contractual obligations with health insurers. However, as hospitals renegotiated prices, inflation began to have an impact. Hospitals demanded higher prices from commercial health insurers to cover the rapid rise in wages for nurses and healthcare workers. These negotiations have been a challenge for hospitals and health insurers, with some agreements between the two ending and resulting in many patients looking for new hospitals and providers to accept their insurance.

Economists are expecting hospital inflation to persist in the future due to the delayed impact in general. “This was a very large shock that we saw in the healthcare industry over COVID, and it takes years for those to pass through to the prices,” said economist Alan Detmeister of UBS in a report from the Wall Street Journal.

Premiums are also rising with health spending, leading business owners to pass increased insurance costs on to customers, increasing prices in places like restaurants.

Consumers everywhere are experiencing higher costs of living, and higher healthcare costs only create more stress and uncertainty for individuals who may have ongoing or one-time health related expenses to consider. With many taking on higher debt burdens than they may be able to handle, filing for bankruptcy might be the right option. The attorneys at Sader Law Firm are available to answer all questions and figure out the best course of action for you. Contact Sader Law Firm at (816) 561-1818 for a free phone consultation and learn more about how bankruptcy might be the right move for you.