Healthcare Spending Growth Hits 10-Year High

Healthcare spending rose at the fastest pace in 10 years last quarter, a development that could foreshadow higher costs for consumers this year.

Healthcare spending rose at the fastest pace in 10 years last quarter, a development that could foreshadow higher costs for consumers this year.

Expenses for healthcare rose at a 5.6% annual rate in the fourth quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said last week. The jump triggered a sharp upward revision in the government's estimate of consumer spending overall and accounted for nearly a quarter of the economy's 2.6% annualized growth in the last three months of 2013.

Driving the increase was an $8 billion rise in hospital revenue — more than the previous four quarters combined, according to the Census Bureau and Royal Bank of Scotland. RBS economist Omair Sharif says the increase in hospitals' income was puzzling because the number of inpatient days dipped 1% during the fourth quarter

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Source: USA Today