Medical Care Prices Up

November 19, 2002 ( - The medical care index, a component of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), rose 0.6% in October, according to the US Department of Labor (DoL).

The 0.6% increase in the cost of medical care during October before seasonal adjustments represents a 4.8% increase from October of 2001.   Contributing to the rise was the high increase in the hospital and related services, up 0.9% in October and 9.3% since October 2001.

The largest increases were seen in:

  • Outpatient hospital service: up 1.9% in October; an increase of 11.9% since October 2001
  • Inpatient hospital services: up 0.5% in October; up 8.9% since October 2001

Professional services saw price increases of 0.6% in October, a rise of 3.1% since October 2001. Included in this increase were physician services, up 0.6% in October, a rise of 2.9% since October 2001.   Additional increases were seen in eye care and dental service prices, up 1.3% and 0.3%, respectively.

The medical care commodities index, a measure of prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and medical supplies increased a modest 0.3% for the month, but is up 3.3% from October 2001 levels.  

Components of the care commodities index reported mixed results in October:

  • Prescription drugs and medical supplies rose 0.4%; up 4.7% since October 2001
  • Nonprescription drugs and medial supplies declined 0.3%; down 0.2 % since October 2001

Overall, the non-seasonally adjusted October CPI climbed 0.2%, up 2.0% from the same period last year.