This Thomson Reuters Employer Norms Book looks at how, during an inflation-free 2009, employers experienced a spike in healthcare costs, which rose by more than 7%.
Average healthcare costs for U.S. employers increased 7.3 percent per capita in 2009, according to an analysis of medical claims data for 144 companies that provided health benefits to 9.5 million individuals from 2007 to 2009.
This increase is particularly striking given that the overall U.S. inflation rate, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), declined by 0.4 percent in 2009 - which was the first time since 1955 this index has seen an annual decrease.
Employer costs represent one part of the nation's total healthcare spending. Overall, U.S. healthcare costs grew at a more modest 4.8 percent per capita in 2009, according to National Health Expenditures (NHE) data from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary.
The rate of healthcare inflation accelerated in 2009 for employers, increasing from 6.1 percent in 2008 to 7.3 percent in 2009. This followed more modest increases of 4.5 percent in 2006 and 4.7 percent in 2007, according to Thomson Reuters data.