Publications
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Feb
21

How common is your health care spending?

It is well documented that Americans spend a lot on health care, but this issue is often discussed in terms of share of GDP, billions of dollars, or an astoundingly high hospital bill. These numbers can be hard to relate to; it's hard to imagine billions of dollars, let alone a share of the national economy. A pricey bill may get our attention, but can seem like a special case that doesn't relate ...
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Feb
09

Health Affairs: Health Spending Growth Is Accelerating; Prices Are In The Driver’s Seat

 HEALTH AFFAIRS BLOG: "Perhaps nothing illustrates the intractability of America's struggle with health spending more than the recent announcement by Amazon, JP Morgan, and Berkshire Hathaway that they were founding a new entity to address health care costs for their employees. Despite lacking any concrete details this announcement managed to wipe billions of dollars in market capitalization ...
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Feb
01

New England Journal of Medicine: Consistently High Turnover in the Group of Top Health Care Spenders

 NEJM CATALYST: "The concentration of most U.S. health care spending in a small proportion of individuals is well documented. The notion that high health care spending only affects a small portion of people in a given year is particularly relevant to the ongoing policy debate about how to make health insurance affordable for all, while accommodating people with complex health care needs and a...
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Feb
01

Top Spenders Among the Commercially Insured Increased Spending Concentration and Consistent Turnover from 2013 to 2015

 This issue brief explores the distribution of health care spending among commercially insured individuals, with a focus on the top 5 percent of spenders and turnover within that group from year to year. It considers the share of spending incurred by this group of top spenders, how those dollars are distributed among the health care service categories, turnover within the group of top spender...
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Dec
20

Workers in low income counties more likely to be long-term opioid users

Past literature has found links between higher opioid use and local economic conditions for people enrolled in public health programs, but there has been little discussion of whether this relationship occurs among the privately insured. Using HCCI claims data and county level income data from the US Census Bureau, we examined how a county's median household income relates to long-term opioid use a...
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Dec
07

Health Affairs: Understanding Health Spending - Lessons From The Healthy Marketplace Index

HEALTH AFFAIRS BLOG: "As policymakers consider actions to address challenges with the Affordable Care Act and ongoing growth in health spending, the importance of understanding local health care market dynamics is more important than ever. Traditionally, policy makers and other stakeholders have evaluated commercial health care markets' total spending and often attributed high spending to high pri...
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Dec
04

ER spending increased 85%, driven by price increases for the most severe cases (2009-2015)

Medical bills from the Emergency Room (ER) are a mystery to many patients in the US health system. From incredibly high, varying charges to surprise bills resulting from in/out of network confusion, many Americans have no idea what to expect when it comes to the cost of this necessary service. Recently, Vox reporter, Sarah Kliff, has begun collecting ER bills in an attempt to "bring transparency t...
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Nov
29

Price of insulin prescription doubled between 2012 and 2016

In honor of National Diabetes Month, our inaugural blog post focuses on a topic of particular interest to people with diabetes: the price of insulin. Insulin is the hormone responsible for the body's ability to use sugar and prevent dangerously high and potentially deadly levels of blood sugar. Diabetics are unable to make enough insulin to support their bodies' needs, and thus many are dependent ...
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Nov
20

New England Journal of Medicine: The Value of Health Insurance through Price Discounts

 NEJM CATALYST: "As context for the ongoing health care reform debate, we analyzed Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) data. HCCI is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization aimed at providing complete and accurate information about health care utilization and costs in the United States. Our goal was to demonstrate the value of insurance through these discounted rates. We did so by calculating med...
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Aug
01

Health Affairs: Medicare Competitive Bidding Program Realized Price Savings For Durable Medical Equipment Purchases

ABSTRACT: From the inception of the Medicare program there have been questions regarding whether and how to pay for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies. In 2011 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented a competitive bidding program to reduce spending on durable medical equipment and similar items. Previously, CMS had used prices in an administrat...
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Aug
01

Trends in Total and Out-of-Pocket Spending in Metro Areas: 2012-2015

This data brief examines geographic variation in health care per capita spending, with a focus on consumer per capita out-of-pocket spending across geographies (2012-2015). It also explores whether the proportion of people enrolled in consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) and the proportion not utilizing health care services had any influence on out-of-pocket spending.​   Download PDF File H...
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Feb
28

Non-Shoppable Health Care Services: Inpatient Hospitalizations

This data brief reports on spending and utilization in populations likely unable to shop for a hospital prior to seeking care, comparing spending and length-of-stay for individuals who were admitted through the emergency department (ED) to that of individuals who needed ambulance services the day of their admission through the ED.    Download PDF File Here
Jan
01

JAMA Internal Medicine: A Perspective on Out-of-Pocket Spending

To the Editor Understanding out-of-pocket spending is critical to understanding health care costs in the United States. We applaud the efforts of Adrion et al as an important contribution to understanding the out-of-pocket spending of the commercially insured population younger than 65 years. The commercially insured comprise over 50% of the nonelderly US population and, as demonstrated by Ad...
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Dec
01

Medicare Advantage Health Care Utilization - Observation Stays

This data brief reports on outpatient observations stays in the Medicare Advantage population from 2010 through 2014. The results show that the rate of observations stays increased in total as well as following hospitalizations.    Download PDF File Here
Nov
01

Medicare Advantage Health Care Utilization - Hospital Readmissions

 This data brief, reports on five readmission rate measures for the Medicare Advantage (MA) population: 30-day all-cause hospital-wide readmissions and 30-day all-cause readmissions following acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pneumonia. The results show that MA readmission rates have been declining over the past five years. &nb...
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Sep
01

Consumer-Driven Health Plans: A Cost and Utilization Analysis

This data brief examines the health care use and spending from 2010-2014 for people who are enrolled in consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs), and compares these trends to non-CDHP enrollees. Findings indicate that although fewer total dollars were spent on health care for CDHP enrollees, they had higher per capita out-of-pocket spending on deductibles, copays, and coinsurance.    Downloa...
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Jul
01

Necessary versus Sufficient Claims Data

This data brief compares membership characteristics and health care service prices in non-ERISA and ERISA populations. The results suggest that non-ERISA data may be sufficient for policy relevant analyses, even when ERISA data is not available.    Download PDF File Here
Jun
20

2014 Diabetes Health Care Cost and Utilization Report

The 2014 Diabetes Health Care Cost and Utilization Report examines how much is spent on health care for adults and children with diabetes, where those dollars are spent, and how that compares to people without diabetes. It is based on the health care claims of more than 40 million Americans younger than 65 covered by employer-sponsored insurance from 2012 to 2014.   Download Report Appendix K...
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May
16

Children’s Health Spending Report 2010-2014

Children's Health Spending: 2010-2014 examines spending on health care for children covered by employer-sponsored insurance from 2010 to 2014. For the first time, HCCI analyzed children's health care spending trends at the state level, reporting on Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin, as well as the District of Columbia.   Download Report Ap...
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Apr
21

National Chartbook of Health Care Prices 2015

The National Chartbook of Health Care Prices – 2015 and accompanying Health Affairs article "Prices For Common Medical Services Vary Substantially Among the Commercially Insured" illuminates differences in price for over 240 common medical services in 41 states and the District of Columbia. Download Report   Download PDF File Here Among the commercially insured, wide variation in prices have ...
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Apr
01

The Price-Quality Paradox in Health Care

This data brief compares average state-level prices against quality measures for asthma, diabetes and hypertension care and finds that higher prices for medical services are not always indicative of higher quality of care.    Download PDF File Here
Mar
01

Spending on Shoppable Services in Health Care

This issue brief examines health care spending on shoppable services in 2011. Contrary to expectations, giving consumers prices so they can shop for health care services may only have a modest effect on reducing health spending.   Key Findings: ​In 2011, about 43% of the $524.2 billion spent on health care services for commercially insured people was considered shoppable.About 15%—nearly...
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Feb
01

An Examination of Private Payer Reimbursements to Primary Care Providers for Healthcare Services Using Telehealth, United States 2009-2013

This issue brief, in partnership with the National Academy for State Health Policy,  reports on reimbursement to primary care provides for health care services using telehealth.  Key findings include:  • Half of telehealth-related state policies were implemented in the last five years.• Although many states permit reimbursements for telehealth services, only seven&nbs...
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Sep
30

Healthy Marketplace Index - 2015

Download Report The Healthy Marketplace Index is a series of metrics that measure the economic performance of health care markets across the country. The HMI was developed with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.    Download PDF File Here The Healthy Marketplace Index Report (HMI) shows the economic performance of more than 40 health care markets across the country. Dev...
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Sep
01

Taking the Pulse of Health Care Markets

 This data brief discusses patterns in the price and utilization indices reported in the 2015 Healthy Marketplace Index Report.   Download PDF File Here