Health Care Inflation in the United States (1948-2021)

The average price of health care in the United States rose 0.4% for the 12 months ended August 2021 after climbing 0.3% previously, according to the most recent inflation stats released September 14, 2021 by the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The cost of health care is a major component — one of eight major groups — in the BLS’s Consumer Price Index (CPI). Described in their monthly reports as the "medical care index," it is split in two sub-categories titled "medical care commodities" and "medical care services." As an example, in August they posted respective year-over-year gains of -0.2% and 0.3%. For more about the pair and background, read about how the BLS measures pricing changes in medical care.

This chart shows U.S. health care inflation on an annual basis over the last decade:

*In 2021, the most recent monthly inflation data (12-month based) is displayed in the chart.

Table: Heath Care Inflation by Month and Year (1948-2021)

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1948 6.1 5.3 6.0 6.7 5.9 5.9 7.4 6.6 5.8 5.8 6.5 5.8
1949 5.7 5.7 5.0 3.5 3.5 3.5 2.1 2.8 2.8 2.1 1.4 1.4
1950 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.4 2.0 1.3 2.0 2.7 2.7 3.4
1951 3.3 3.3 4.7 4.7 5.3 5.3 4.6 5.3 4.6 4.6 5.2 5.8
1952 5.8 5.8 5.1 5.1 4.4 6.3 6.3 5.7 6.3 5.6 5.0 4.3
1953 3.7 3.7 3.0 3.6 4.2 3.0 3.0 3.6 3.6 3.6 4.1 3.5
1954 3.5 4.1 4.1 4.1 3.5 2.9 2.9 2.9 2.3 2.3 2.3 2.3
1955 2.3 2.3 2.3 1.7 2.2 2.2 2.2 1.7 2.2 2.8 2.8 3.3
1956 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.9 3.3 3.3 3.8 4.4 4.4 3.8 3.8 3.2
1957 3.8 3.2 4.3 3.7 4.3 4.8 4.2 4.2 3.7 4.2 4.2 4.7
1958 4.7 4.7 4.1 4.6 4.6 4.6 5.1 4.5 5.6 5.5 5.0 4.5
1959 4.5 5.0 4.9 4.4 4.4 4.4 3.9 4.3 3.8 3.3 3.8 3.8
1960 3.8 3.8 3.8 4.2 3.7 3.3 3.7 3.2 3.2 3.2 3.2 3.2
1961 3.2 3.2 2.7 2.7 3.2 3.2 3.1 3.1 3.1 3.1 2.7 3.1
1962 2.7 2.6 3.1 3.1 2.6 3.1 2.6 2.6 2.2 2.6 2.6 2.2
1963 2.6 2.6 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.1 2.5 2.5
1964 2.5 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 1.7 2.1 2.1 2.1 1.6 2.1
1965 1.6 2.0 2.5 2.4 2.4 2.4 2.8 2.4 2.4 2.4 2.8 2.8
1966 3.2 2.8 3.2 3.2 3.6 4.0 4.0 4.3 5.5 6.3 6.3 6.7
1967 7.0 7.4 7.4 7.3 7.7 7.3 7.2 7.2 6.7 6.3 6.7 6.3
1968 6.2 6.2 6.1 6.5 5.7 5.7 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.3 5.9 6.2
1969 6.2 6.8 6.8 6.8 7.4 7.7 7.4 7.7 7.6 6.3 6.2 6.2
1970 5.8 5.8 6.1 6.0 6.0 5.9 6.5 6.2 6.2 7.1 7.1 7.4
1971 7.6 7.3 7.2 7.2 7.1 6.8 6.4 6.7 6.4 5.5 5.2 4.6
1972 4.3 4.2 3.6 3.3 3.0 3.0 2.7 2.2 2.2 3.3 3.6 3.3
1973 3.5 3.3 3.2 3.2 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.7 5.0 5.0 5.3
1974 5.3 6.0 6.8 7.0 7.5 9.1 10.1 11.9 12.3 11.1 11.6 12.6
1975 13.3 13.6 13.5 13.9 13.5 12.4 12.2 11.1 11.0 10.9 10.2 9.8
1976 9.7 9.6 9.7 9.4 9.4 9.3 9.2 9.4 9.1 9.0 10.5 10.0
1977 9.9 9.5 9.4 9.8 9.7 9.9 9.8 9.7 9.8 9.6 8.7 8.9
1978 9.0 9.1 8.6 8.2 8.3 7.9 7.9 8.0 7.9 8.6 9.0 8.8
1979 9.2 9.0 9.1 9.1 8.8 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.3 9.2 10.1
1980 10.0 10.8 11.2 11.5 11.6 11.4 11.3 11.0 11.1 11.0 10.7 9.9
1981 10.1 9.6 9.4 9.5 9.7 10.2 10.8 11.5 11.4 11.7 12.3 12.5
1982 12.1 11.8 12.0 12.1 12.0 11.9 11.7 11.3 11.4 11.2 10.9 11.0
1983 11.0 11.1 10.5 9.8 9.3 8.9 8.4 8.1 7.5 7.1 6.6 6.4
1984 6.2 6.3 6.3 6.3 6.4 6.3 6.4 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.2 6.1
1985 5.9 5.5 5.9 6.0 6.0 6.3 6.2 6.5 6.6 6.5 6.6 6.8
1986 6.9 7.2 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.5 7.7 7.6 7.7 7.7 7.7 7.7
1987 7.6 7.1 6.8 6.8 6.8 6.8 6.8 6.5 6.4 6.3 6.1 5.8
1988 6.2 6.4 6.4 6.4 6.4 6.4 6.6 6.6 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9
1989 7.0 7.2 7.2 7.2 7.3 7.5 7.5 7.7 8.0 8.1 8.5 8.5
1990 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.9 9.0 9.0 9.2 9.5 9.3 9.4 9.4 9.6
1991 9.7 9.5 9.5 9.1 9.0 8.8 8.6 8.4 8.4 8.1 8.0 7.9
1992 7.8 7.9 7.8 7.9 7.7 7.5 7.4 7.0 7.0 7.0 6.9 6.6
1993 6.6 6.3 6.0 6.0 6.3 6.2 6.0 6.0 5.7 5.7 5.5 5.4
1994 5.1 4.9 4.9 4.9 4.6 4.6 4.6 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.8 4.9
1995 4.9 4.9 4.8 4.6 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.4 4.4 4.2 4.1 3.9
1996 4.0 3.8 3.8 3.7 3.7 3.6 3.6 3.4 3.3 3.2 3.1 3.0
1997 2.9 2.9 3.0 3.0 3.0 2.9 2.7 2.6 2.6 2.5 2.6 2.8
1998 2.7 2.8 2.7 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.6 3.5 3.4
1999 3.6 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.4 3.4 3.5 3.4 3.4 3.5 3.5 3.7
2000 3.6 3.8 3.9 3.9 4.0 4.1 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.3 4.3 4.2
2001 4.5 4.6 4.6 4.6 4.6 4.6 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.6 4.8 4.7
2002 4.7 4.5 4.4 4.6 4.7 4.5 4.9 4.7 4.6 4.8 5.0 5.0
2003 4.6 4.5 4.3 4.0 4.0 4.1 3.8 3.9 4.0 3.7 3.5 3.7
2004 3.8 4.2 4.5 4.7 4.6 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.4 4.5 4.4 4.2
2005 4.3 4.3 4.3 4.3 4.3 4.2 4.2 3.9 3.9 4.1 4.5 4.3
2006 4.0 4.0 4.1 4.1 4.2 4.1 4.0 4.3 4.2 4.0 3.7 3.6
2007 4.3 4.3 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.3 4.5 4.6 4.8 5.0 5.2
2008 4.9 4.5 4.6 4.3 4.1 4.0 3.5 3.3 3.2 2.8 2.7 2.6
2009 2.6 2.8 2.8 3.0 3.2 3.2 3.2 3.3 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.4
2010 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.6 3.4 3.5 3.2 3.2 3.4 3.4 3.2 3.3
2011 2.9 2.9 2.7 2.9 3.0 2.9 3.2 3.2 2.8 3.1 3.4 3.5
2012 3.6 3.4 3.5 3.4 3.6 4.0 4.1 4.1 4.1 3.7 3.4 3.2
2013 3.1 3.1 3.1 2.7 2.2 2.1 1.9 2.3 2.4 2.3 2.2 2.0
2014 2.1 2.3 2.2 2.4 2.8 2.6 2.6 2.1 2.0 2.1 2.5 3.0
2015 2.6 2.3 2.5 2.9 2.8 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 3.0 2.9 2.6
2016 3.0 3.5 3.3 3.0 3.1 3.5 3.9 4.9 4.9 4.3 4.0 4.1
2017 3.9 3.5 3.5 3.0 2.7 2.7 2.6 1.8 1.6 1.7 1.7 1.8
2018 2.0 1.8 2.0 2.2 2.4 2.5 1.9 1.5 1.7 1.7 2.0 2.0
2019 1.9 1.7 1.7 1.9 2.1 2.0 2.6 3.5 3.5 4.3 4.2 4.6
2020 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 5.1 5.0 4.5 4.2 2.9 2.4 1.8
2021 1.9 2.0 1.8 1.5 0.9 0.4 0.3 0.4