Abstract

This study examines the importance of using appropriate inflation measures in the estimation of a life care plan value. Using data from 1989 through 2018, we compare medical inflation rates measured by the Consumer Price Index Medical (CPI Medical) and the Personal Consumption Expenditures Health (PCE Health) price index while discussing the reasons why the indices differ. We also explain why certain policymakers favor the Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) over the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In demonstrating how the value of life care plans can differ based upon the use of either of these indices we applied 10-year historical arithmetic averages of both indices to a large hypothetical life care plan. Our calculations indicate that using the CPI versus the PCE results in a difference that is 7.5 times the initial value of the plan, after accumulation of nominal annual values that are undiscounted to present value. We also show how the difference between using the CPI Medical versus the PCE Health increases over time, implying that using one price index or the other will have a greater impact on life care plan values the longer the projection period. Our analysis shows that experts should consider the use of PCE indices when valuing life care plans.

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