Insurers: Hospital prices rising steeply

“The price of health care services is the major driver of overall health care cost growth,” Ignagni said in a statement. “To make health care coverage more affordable for consumers and employers, there needs to be a much greater focus on the underlying cost of medical care.” 

According to AHIP's data, the price of inpatient hospital care rose by 8.2 percent per year between 2008 and 2010. 

Four states — New York, Texas, Tennessee and Pennsylvania — saw their costs rise even higher than average, according to the study, published in the American Journal of Managed Care.

AHIP said price increases are driven in part by consolidation in the hospital industry. As hospitals merge and gain bargaining power, it's harder for insurers to negotiate lower payment rates.