Per Capita Medicare Inflation in the Last Decade: Unit Cost Increases Offset by Reduced Utilization

  • William B. WeeksEmail author
  • James N. Weinstein
Concise Research Report

Dartmouth College has determined that analyses of publicly available data are not considered to be human subjects research (CPHS00028121).

Among the commercially insured, per capita medical expenditure growth has been fueled by unit price inflation. Though attenuated by reduced per capita utilization (2011–2017),1 unit price inflation has driven overall inflation, being substantially higher for hospital than for physician services (2007–2014).2 While per capita health care spending growth has been higher for the commercially insured than for those insured by Medicare,3 evaluation of the relative contributions of utilization and unit price inflation to overall per capita Medicare fee-for-service expenditure inflation has not been conducted. We sought to complete such an analysis.


From the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), we obtained 2007–2017 public use files for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries aged less than 65 years old (< 65) and 65 years old and older...



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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Microsoft Healthcare NExTRedmondUSA
  2. 2.Tuck Business SchoolHanoverUSA
  3. 3.The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical PracticeLebanonUSA
  4. 4.Kellogg School of BusinessEvanstonUSA

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