How Does Medical Inflation Compare to Inflation in the Rest of the Economy?

Note: This analysis was updated on May 17, 2024 to include new data.

Inflation in medical care prices and overall health spending typically outpaces inflation in the rest of the economy. However, since 2021, medical prices have grown at a similar rate as in past years while prices in some other parts of the economy grew much more rapidly than in the past.

While medical care prices increased by 2.2% between March 2023 and March 2024, the prices of all goods and services increased by 3.5%, according to an updated analysis. Prices for hospital services and related services (7.7%) – both inpatient (6.9%) and outpatient (8.3%) – as well as for nursing homes (3.9%) rose faster than for prescription drugs and physicians’ services (0.4% and 0.7%, respectively).

KFF uses Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, including the consumer price index (CPI) and producer price index (PPI) to analyze prices for medical care compared to other goods and services. The analysis can be found on the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker, an information hub dedicated to monitoring and assessing the performance of the U.S. health system.

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