Stacks of coins The median metropolitan area for the duration of the study period saw a 17 percent drop in utilization of services, but prices rose 13 percent. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Health care prices are rising at three times the rate of inflation, except where they’re not. According to the latest version of the Health Care Cost Institute’s analysis of commercial claims, there’s a lot of variation in health care prices across the country. Metropolitan areas that have higher prices generally have lower use of care, while the opposite also tends to be true.

“That fact that you could be paying 2.5 times more for the same healthcare services in San Jose (Calif.) than in Baltimore (Md.) suggests there is a lot of variation in prices across the country,” Bill Johnson, lead author of the report and senior researcher at HCCI, told Modern Healthcare.

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Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter has worked in and written about the financial industry for decades.

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