Publications
HCCI’s external researcher publications powered by #HCCIdata

Oct
01

Health Affairs: Assessing The Impact Of State Policies For Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs On High-Risk Opioid Prescriptions

 ABSTRACT:Policies and practices have proliferated to optimize prescribers' use of their states' prescription drug monitoring programs, which are statewide databases of controlled substances dispensed at retail pharmacies. Our study assessed the effectiveness of three such policies: comprehensive legislative mandates to use the program, laws that allow prescribers to delegate its use to offic...
Continue reading
Sep
14

American Journal of Health Economics: Why Don't Commercial Health Plans Use Prospective Payment?

Abstract:One of the key terms in contracts between hospitals and insurers is how the parties apportion the financial risk of treating unexpectedly costly patients. "Prospective" payment contracts give hospitals a lump-sum amount, depending on the medical condition of the patient, with limited adjustment for the level of services provided. We use data from the Medicare Prospective Payment System an...
Continue reading
Sep
11

Journal of General Internal Medicine: First Opioid Prescription and Subsequent High-Risk Opiod Use, a National Survey of Privately Insured and Medicare Advantage Adults

​BACKGROUND: National guidelines make recommendations regarding the initial opioid prescriptions, but most of the supporting evidence is from the initial episode of care, not the first prescription.OBJECTIVE: To examine associations between features of the first opioid prescription and high-risk opioid use in the 18 months following the first prescription.DESIGN: Retrospec...
Continue reading
Sep
04

The Quarterly Journal of Economics: The Price Ain't Right? Hospital Prices and Health Spending on the Privately Insured

​Abstract: We use insurance claims data covering 28% of individuals with employer-sponsored health insurance in the United States to study the variation in health spending on the privately insured, examine the structure of insurer-hospital contracts, and analyze the variation in hospital prices across the nation. Health spending per privately insured beneficiary differs by a factor of three a...
Continue reading
Sep
01

The Society of Actuaries: Predicting High-Cost Members in the HCCI Database

Abstract:Using the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) database, which contains claim information on approximately 47 million members annually over a seven-year time period, we examined which characteristics best predict and describe high-cost members. We found that cost history, age, gender and prescription drug coverage are all predictors of future high costs, with cost history being the most pred...
Continue reading
Jun
25

Medical Care Research and Review: Prices for Physicians’ Services in Medicare Advantage and Commercial Plans

ABSTRACT: The prices that insurers pay physicians ultimately affect beneficiaries' health insurance premiums. Using 2014 claims data from three major insurers, we analyzed the prices insurers paid in their Medicare Advantage (MA) and commercial plans for 20 physician services, in and out of network, and compared those prices with estimated amounts that Medicare's fee-for-service (FFS) program...
Continue reading
Jun
11

INQUIRY The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing: How do the Hospital Prices Paid by Medicare Advantage Plans and Commercial Plans Compare with Medicare Fee-for-Service Prices?

ABSTRACTThe prices that private insurers pay hospitals have received considerable attention in recent years, but most of that literature has focused on the commercially insured population. Although nearly one-third of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, little is known about the prices paid to hospitals by the private insurers that administer such plans. More inf...
Continue reading
May
23

Health Services Research: Physical Therapy as the First Point of Care to Treat Low Back Pain: An Instrumental Variables Approach to Estimate Impact on Opioid Prescription, Health Care Utilization, and Costs

 ABSTRACTObjective: To compare differences in opioid prescription, health care utilization, and costs among patients with low back pain (LBP) who saw a physical therapist (PT) at the first point of care, at any time during the episode or not at all.Data Sources: Commercial health insurance claims data, 2009–2013.Study Design: Retrospective analyses using two‐stage residual inclusion instrumen...
Continue reading
May
01

NBER: The Price Ain't Right? Hospital Prices and Health Spending on the Privately Insured

ABSTRACT: We use insurance claims data covering 28 percent of individuals with employer-sponsored health insurance in the US to study the variation in health spending on the privately insured, examine the structure of insurer-hospital contracts, and analyze the variation in hospital prices across the nation. Health spending per privately insured beneficiary differs by a factor of three across...
Continue reading
Apr
01

American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology: Nationwide trends in the utilization of and payments for hysterectomy in the United States among commercially insured women

ABSTRACTBackground: Laparotomy followed by inpatient hospitalization has traditionally been the most common surgical care for hysterectomy. The financial implications of the increased use of laparoscopy and outpatient hysterectomy are unknown.Objectives: The objective of the study was to quantify the increasing use of laparoscopy and outpatient hysterectomy and to describe the financial implicatio...
Continue reading
Mar
01

Medical Care: The Differential Effects of Insurance Mandates on Health Care Spending for Children’s Autism Spectrum Disorder

ABSTRACTObjectives: There is substantial variation in treatment intensity among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study asks whether policies that target health care utilization for ASD affect children differentially based on this variation. Specifically, we examine the impact of state-level insurance mandates that require commercial insurers to cover certain treatments for ASD fo...
Continue reading
Mar
01

Obstetrics & Gynecology: Rate of Pelvic Organ Prolapse Surgery Among Privately Insured Women in the United States, 2010-2013

AbstractOBJECTIVE: To analyze utilization of, and payments for, pelvic organ prolapse procedures after the 2011 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) communication regarding transvaginal mesh.METHODS: This is a retrospective cohort study examining private claims from three insurance providers for inpatient and outpatient prolapse procedures from 2010 to 2013 in the Health Care Cost Institute. Pr...
Continue reading
Feb
01

NBER: Hospital Pricing and Public Payments

ABSTRACT: A longstanding debate in health economics and health policy concerns how hospitals adjust prices with private insurers following reductions in public funding. A common argument is that hospitals engage in some degree of "cost-shifting," wherein hospitals increase prices with private insurers in response to a reduction in public payments; however, evidence of significant costshifting...
Continue reading
Dec
01

Health Affairs: Rising Use Of Observation Care Among The Commercially Insured May Lead to Total And Out-Of-Pocket Cost Savings

ABSTRACT:  Proponents of hospital-based observation care argue that it has the potential to reduce health care spending and lengths-of-stay, compared to short-stay inpatient hospitalizations. However, critics have raised concerns about the out-of-pocket spending associated with observation care. Recent reports of high out-of-pocket spending among Medicare beneficiaries have received cons...
Continue reading
Oct
01

Health Affairs: Effects Of State Insurance Mandates On Health Care Use And Spending For Autism Spectrum Disorder

ABSTRACT: Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have enacted insurance mandates that require commercial insurers to cover treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study examined whether implementing autism mandates altered service use or spending among commercially insured children with ASD. We compared children age twenty-one or younger who were eligible for m...
Continue reading
Oct
01

JAMA Oncology: Association Between Quality of Care for Breast Cancer and Health Insurance Exchange Coverage An Analysis of Use of Radiation Therapy After Breast-Conserving Surgery

ABSTRACTResearch comparing quality of cancer care by insurance categories concluded that cancer patients without insurance or with Medicaid experienced inferior quality of care compared with those with private insurance. A new insurance category created from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is insurance purchased from the Health Insurance Marketplace (also known as the exchange). The present stu...
Continue reading
Sep
01

Health Affairs: Insurer Market Power Lowers Prices In Numerous Concentrated Provider Markets

 ABSTRACT: Using prices of hospital admissions and visits to five types of physicians, we analyzed how provider and insurer market concentration—as measured by the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI)—interact and are correlated with prices. We found evidence that in the range of the Department of Justice's and Federal Trade Commission's definition of a moderately concentrated market (HHI of...
Continue reading
Sep
01

NBER: Does Multispecialty Practice Enhance Physician Market Power?

ABSTRACT: In markets for health services, vertical integration – common ownership of producers of complementary services – may have both pro- and anti-competitive effects. Despite this, no empirical research has examined the consequences of multispecialty physician practice – a common and increasing form of vertical integration – for physician prices. We use data on 40 million commercially in...
Continue reading
Sep
01

Women's Health Issues: Maternal Medical Complexity Impact on Prenatal Health Care Spending among Women at Low Risk for Cesarean Section

ABSTRACTBackground: Obstetric procedures are among the most expensive health care services, yet relatively little is known about health care spending among pregnant women, particularly the commercially-insured.Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the association between maternal medical complexity, as a result of having one or more comorbid conditions, and health care spending dur...
Continue reading
Sep
01

Psychiatric Services: Telehealth Delivery of Mental Health Services: An Analysis of Private Insurance Claims Data in the United States

ABSTRACT: Objective: This study characterizes telehealth claims for mental health and substance abuse (MH/SA) services by using national private claims data.Methods: Telehealth-related mental health service claims were identified with private claims data from 2009 to 2013. These data—provided by the Health Care Cost Institute—included claims from Aetna, Humana, and UnitedHealth for ...
Continue reading
May
04

Academic Emergency Medicine: Association Between Maternal Comorbidities and Emergency Department Use Among a National Sample of Commercially Insured Pregnant Women

ABSTRACTObjectives: Evidence suggests that, despite routine engagement with the health system, pregnant women commonly seek emergency care. The objectives of this study were to examine the association between maternal comorbidities and emergency department (ED) use among a national sample of commercially insured pregnant women.Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using multipayer med...
Continue reading
Apr
04

Congressional Budget Office Working Paper Series: An Analysis of Private-Sector Prices for Hospital Admissions

ABSTRACT: Prices for hospital admissions have received considerable attention in recent years, both because they are an important component of health care spending and because they can vary widely. In this paper, we use 2013 claims data from three large insurers to examine the hospital payment rates of those insurers in their commercial plans and their Medicare Advantage plans and compare them wit...
Continue reading
Mar
01

Health Affairs: Reference Pricing Changes the 'Choice Architecture' of Health Care for Consumers

ABSTRACT: Reference pricing in health insurance creates incentives for patients to select for nonemergency services providers that charge relatively low prices and still offer high quality of care. It changes the "choice architecture" by offering standard coverage if the patient chooses cost-effective providers but requires considerable consumer cost sharing if more expensive alternatives are sele...
Continue reading
Feb
19

Health Services Research: Payer Type and Low‐Value Care: Comparing Choosing Wisely Services across Commercial and Medicare Populations

ABSTRACTObjective: To compare low‐value health service use among commercially insured and Medicare populations and explore the influence of payer type on the provision of low‐value care.​Data Sources: 2009–2011 national Medicare and commercial insurance administrative data.Design: We created claims‐based algorithms to measure seven Choosing Wisely‐identified low‐value services and examined the cor...
Continue reading
Jan
01

NBER Working Paper: Healthcare Spending and Utilization in Public and Private Medicare

ABSTRACT: We compare healthcare spending in public and private Medicare using newly available claims data from Medicare Advantage (MA) insurers. MA insurer revenues are 30 percent higher than their healthcare spending. Healthcare spending is 25 percent lower for MA enrollees than for enrollees in traditional Medicare (TM) in the same county with the same risk score. Spending differences between MA...
Continue reading