Health Care Inflation in the United States (1948-2024)

The average price of health care in the United States increased by 3.1% in the 12 months ended May 2024, following a previous increase of 2.6%, according to the most recent inflation data released June 12, 2024 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." For example, in the 12 months ending May, the medical care commodities index increased 3.1% and the medical care services index increased by 3.1%. For more about the pair and some background, read about how the BLS measures pricing changes in medical care.

This chart displays annual U.S. health care inflation rates over the last decade:

*For unfinished years, the latest inflation data (12-month based) is always displayed in the chart’s final column.

Table: Heath Care Inflation by Month and Year (1948-2024)

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 0.4 1.3 1.7 2.2
2022 2.5 2.4 2.9 3.2 3.7 4.5 4.8 5.4 6.0 5.0 4.2 4.0
2023 3.1 2.3 1.5 1.1 0.7 0.1 -0.5 -1.0 -1.4 -0.8 0.2 0.5
2024 1.1 1.4 2.2 2.6 3.1 Avail.
July
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Data Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical care in U.S. city average, all urban consumers, not seasonally adjusted