The proportion of the population in the older age groups will increase dramatically over the next four decades. Furthermore, current per capita rates of hospital and medical care utilization rise sharply with age beyond the age of about 55. However, demographic trends alone do not imply health care cost increases in excess of what is supportable by normal economic growth. A 'cost crisis' will only occur if per capita rates of utilization among the elderly increase faster than for the general population. In this paper we present some descriptive data from published sources suggesting that this has been the case over the recent past in one Canadian province. The implications for the policy debate over the effects of an aging population are discussed.