Publications
HCCI’s external researcher publications powered by #HCCIdata

Sep
11

American Journal of Managed Care: Policies to Address Surprise Billing Can Affect Health Insurance Premiums

 Abstract:  Objectives: To quantify the proportion of health plan spending on services for which surprise billing is common—provided by radiologists, anesthesiologists, pathologists, emergency physicians, emergency ground ambulances, and emergency outpatient facilities—and estimate the potential impact of proposed policies to address surprise billing on health insurance premiums. Study D...
Continue reading
Jul
27

PNAS: Randomized trial shows healthcare payment reform has equal-sized spillover effects on patients not targeted by reform

Abstract:  Changes in the way health insurers pay healthcare providers may not only directly affect the insurer's patients but may also affect patients covered by other insurers. We provide evidence of such spillovers in the context of a nationwide Medicare bundled payment reform that was implemented in some areas of the country but not in others, via random assignment. We estimate that ...
Continue reading
Jun
01

Health Affairs: Treatment Of Opioid Use Disorder Among Commercially Insured US Adults, 2008–17

Abstract: There is abundant literature on efforts to reduce opioid prescriptions and misuse, but comparatively little on the treatment provided to people with opioid use disorder (OUD). Using claims data representing 12–15 million nonelderly adults covered through commercial group insurance during the period 2008–17, we explored rates of OUD diagnoses, treatment patterns, and spending. We found th...
Continue reading
May
01

Health Affairs: Physician Prices And The Cost And Quality Of Care For Commercially Insured Patients

Abstract:  We analyzed the relationship between prices paid to 30,549 general internal medicine physicians and the cost and quality of care for 769,281 commercially insured adults. The highest-price physicians were paid more than twice as much per service, on average, as the lowest-price physicians were. Total annual costs for patients of the highest-price physicians were $996 (20 percent) hi...
Continue reading
Apr
29

Journal of Industrial Economics: Any Willing Provider and Negotiated Retail Pharmaceutical Prices

Abstract:  Any Willing Provider (AWP) regulations require insurers to allow health care providers network membership, eliminating an insurer's ability to commit to a limited network of providers. We study the effect of AWP on prices negotiated between insurers and providers by exploiting the introduction of a regulation targeting retail pharmacies in the state of Maine. Using insurance c...
Continue reading
Apr
15

Health Affairs: Prevalence And Characteristics Of Surprise Out-Of-Network Bills From Professionals In Ambulatory Surgery Centers

Abstract:  Patients treated at in-network facilities can involuntarily receive services from out-of-network providers, which may result in "surprise bills." While several studies report the surprise billing prevalence in emergency department and inpatient settings, none document the prevalence in ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs). The extent to which health plans pay a portion or all of out-o...
Continue reading
Jul
29

Health Care Spending in New York Growing Faster Than Rest of U.S.

Spending per person in employer-sponsored plans reaches all-time high of $6,335 Health care spending for the average New Yorker with employer-sponsored health insurance is increasing faster in New York State than the rest of the country, according to a new analysis released today by the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) and the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI). Per-person spending grew...
Continue reading
Apr
01

American Economic Journal: Applied Economics: Health Care Spending and Utilization in Public and Private Medicare

Abstract: We compare health care 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 health care spending. Adjusting for enrollee mix, health care spending per enrollee in MA is 9 to 30 percent lower than in Traditional Medicare (TM), depending on the way we define "comparable" enrolle...
Continue reading
Feb
27

BMC Public Health: Area-Level Deprivation and Preterm Birth: Results from a National, Commercially-Insured Population

Abstract Background: Area-level deprivation is associated with multiple adverse birth outcomes. Few studies have examined the mediating pathways through which area-level deprivation affects these outcomes. The objective of this study was to investigate the association between area-level deprivation and preterm birth, and examine the mediating effects of maternal medical, behavioural, and psyc...
Continue reading
Feb
04

Health Affairs: Variation In Health Spending Growth For The Privately Insured From 2007 to 2014

ABSTRACT We examined the growth in health spending on people with employer-sponsored private insurance in the period 2007–14. Our analysis relied on information from the Health Care Cost Institute data set, which includes insurance claims from Aetna, Humana, and UnitedHealthcare. In the study period private health spending per enrollee grew 16.9 percent, while growth in Medicare spending per fee-f...
Continue reading
Feb
04

Health Affairs: Medicare Advantage And Commercial Prices For Mental Health Services

​Abstract: In 2014, insurers paid an average of 13–14 percent less for in-network mental health services in their commercial and Medicare Advantage plans than fee-for-service Medicare paid for identical services—despite paying up to 12 percent more than Medicare when the same services were provided by other physician specialties. However, patients went out of network more frequently for mental hea...
Continue reading
Feb
04

Health Affairs: Hospital Prices Grew Substantially Faster Than Physician Prices For Hospital-Based Care In 2007–14

Abstract: Evidence suggests that growth in providers' prices drives growth in health care spending on the privately insured. However, existing work has not systematically differentiated between the growth rate of hospital prices and that of physician prices. We analyzed growth in both types of prices for inpatient and hospital-based outpatient services using actual negotiated prices paid by insure...
Continue reading
Jan
01

Medical Care: Competition in Outpatient Procedure Markets

 Abstract Background: More than half of all medical procedures performed in the United States occur in an outpatient setting, yet few studies have explored how competition among ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) and hospitals affects prices for commercially insured outpatient services. Objectives: We examined the association between prices for commercially insured outpatient procedu...
Continue reading
Dec
13

American Academy of Pediatrics: Insurance Mandates and Out-of-Pocket Spending for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

ABSTRACT   BACKGROUND: The health care costs associated with treating autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children can be substantial. State-level mandates that require insurers to cover ASD-specific services may lessen the financial burden families face by shifting health care spending to insurers. METHODS: We estimated the effects of ASD mandates on out-of-pocket spending, insurer spendi...
Continue reading
Nov
01

American Academy of Actuaries: Estimating the Potential Health Care Savings of Reference Pricing

Executive Summary: High and rising health care prices play a major role in the persistent increases in health care spending. This study, undertaken by the American Academy of Actuaries Health Practice Council, explores the potential for reference pricing to counter high health care prices and contain health care spending growth. Reference pricing is a system in which an insurer selects a price it ...
Continue reading
Nov
01

International Journal of Radiation Oncology: Impact of Medicare Advantage Enrollment on Utilization of Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy and Cost of Care for Cancer Treatment

Abstract: Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is an important driver of rising costs in oncology care, but the level of evidence supporting its routine use varies across disease sites, including breast, lung, and prostate. While Medicare Advantage (MA) plans have incentives to reduce health care spending, the effect of MA enrollment on utilization of high-cost medical services and quality...
Continue reading
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 offi...
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 a...
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: Retrosp...
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 ...
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 pre...
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?

ABSTRACT The 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 in...
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

 ABSTRACT Objective: 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 instru...
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