June 07, 1999
After dropping for seven consecutive years, the percent change in the consumer price index for medical care turned upward in 1998. Prices for medical care increased by 3.4 percent in 1998, following a 2.8-percent rise the previous year.
In 1990, the price index for medical care jumped by 9.6 percent. The percent change in medical care prices then declined by a percentage point each year on average from 1990 to 1997, before rising in 1998.
Although the growth rate of medical care prices fell in most years from 1990 to 1998, it was still higher than the growth rate of the all items CPI in every year except 1996. At 3.0 percent, the change in the medical care price index that year was somewhat below the 3.3-percent change in the all-items index.
These data are produced by the BLS Consumer Price Index program. Annual percent changes are December-to-December changes. Details on the calculation of the medical care CPI are in Measuring Price Change for Medical Care in the CPI. More information on consumer price changes can be found in "Consumer inflation remains modest in 1998," Monthly Labor Review, April 1999.