News
Media coverage of HCCI’s original research

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Jun
29

Comparison of Commercial & Medicare Professional Service Prices

People in the United States routinely cite health care and health care costs as top concerns.1, 2, 3, 4 For the more than 160 million people who get insurance from their employer, the cost of health care is high, growing, and outpacing growth in wages.5, 6, 7 Across the country, health care costs show up in the form of higher premiums and higher out-of-pocket costs (for services that are...
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Jun
26

Charge Amounts for Professional Procedures to Commercial Insurance and Traditional Medicare

In the start of 2019, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services finalized federal policies that required hospitals to publish the amount they charge for common services, documents commonly referred to as chargemasters. While similar policies have been in place at the state level since the early 2000s, this was the first federal mandate to require this type of transparency. These policies have bee...
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Jun
19

ADRD Prevalence in Various Insurance Populations: A Collaboration with The Alzheimer’s Association

Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) represent a significant and growing cost to the United States health care system. While the prevalence and cost of ADRD related to Medicare Fee-for-Service beneficiaries is documented in the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Chronic Conditions Warehouse, less is known about the prevalence and cost of ADRD among individuals covered by employ...
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Jun
12

Impact of New Technology on Prices and Use: A Case Examination of Robot-Assisted Surgeries

Surgery accounts for the largest share of inpatient and outpatient spending among individuals with employer-sponsored insurance, representing 49 percent of inpatient spending and 37 percent of outpatient spending in 2018 according to HCCI's most recent annual report. In recent years, the number of surgical procedures performed using robot assistance has increased dramatically. Intuitive, Inc., whi...
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Jun
10

Consumer-Directed Health Plan Enrollment Rises in All Cities over 10 Years (2008 to 2017)

Recent analysis by HCCI finds that enrollment in consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) increased dramatically since 2008. Nationally, nearly a third of commercially insured individuals were enrolled in a CDHP in 2017, up from 7.5% in 2008. Over ten years, enrollment in CDHPs doubled in 85 of the 88 metro areas studied. High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) have become increasin...
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May
28

How often do providers bill out of network?

In recent analysis, we document extensive variation across states and metropolitan areas in the frequency of out-of-network visits among individuals with health insurance provided by an employer. These differences raise the question of whether individual providers bill out of network at dissimilar rates. To explore whether a small group of providers are responsible for most out-of-network billing,...
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May
13

Understanding Variation in Spending on Childbirth Among the Commercially Insured

Childbirth is the most frequent reason for an inpatient admission in the United States, and Cesarean-section (C-section) is the most common operating room procedure in an inpatient hospital stay. Among people who get insurance through an employer, the combination of labor, delivery, and newborn care makes up nearly one in six dollars spent on inpatient care. Childbirth accounts for an estimated fo...
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Apr
01

Compared to What? Baseline Understanding of the Distribution of Hospital Care

The pandemic of a new coronavirus, COVID-19, is increasing demand on hospitals as unprecedented numbers of people with respiratory disease seek treatment. In addition to straining hospital resources directly related to care of COVID-19, the outbreak may also displace other types of care. In this analysis, we hope to inform the understanding of the distribution of care provided in hospitals and how...
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Jan
30

The Washington Post: The Health 202: Health-care costs might decline if hospitals are forced by the Trump administration to disclose their prices

HCCI research on the potential effects of price transparency on price variation was cited in a recent Washington Post article. "There is more wiggle room on the high side — it could make up for price increases on the lower side," said Kevin Kennedy, one of the study researchers. The Health 202: Health-care costs might decline if hospitals are forced by the Trump administration to disclose the...
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Jan
29

What if Price Transparency Reduced Commercial Price Variation?

As previous reports have indicated, there is widespread price variation in the U.S. commercial health care system. Many studies have shown that prices are dramatically different not only across geographies, but they vary substantially even within the same market for the same service. For example, we found that prices for the same blood tests could vary 39-fold within Tampa, Florida and the cost of...
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Jan
16

CMS-specified shoppable services accounted for 12% of 2017 health care spending among individuals with employer-sponsored insurance

% Total Medical Spending % Out-of-Pocket Medical Spending % Medical Charges% Medical  Utilization All Medical Care 11.8 15.6 12.317.2Inpatient Care7.95.68.04.8Outpatient Care13.116.513.717.2 In response to high and growing health care spending, policymakers have proposed improving price transparency as a solution. Several such proposals rely on consumers taking action on publicly av...
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Dec
17

International comparisons of health care prices from the 2017 iFHP survey

The International Federation of Health Plans (iFHP), a CEO network of the global health insurance industry based in London, in partnership with the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) in the United States, and iFHP member companies in eight countries, today published the latest International Comparison of Health Prices Report. The report compares the median prices paid by a sample of private he...
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Dec
10

JAMA Research Letter: Primary Care Spending in the Commercially Insured Population

​Using HCCI's data, we assessed the share among individuals younger than 65 years covered by employer-sponsored insurance from 2013 to 2017.  We assessed primary care spending using 2 main definitions: a definition which included the total spending on services rendered by primary care clinicians (broad definition) and one where only CPT codes for specific services specified as prima...
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Nov
25

Health Affairs: Surprise Bills, Benchmarks, And The Problem Of Indexation

​HCCI data was cited in a Health Affairs blog article on surprise billing.   From the Article: "Over the past year, the congressional debate over surprise billing has converged on two policy options to resolve out-of-network payments—1) a simple benchmark, in which a health plan pays out-of-network providers the median rate agreed with local in-network providers in the same specialty, or...
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Nov
22

Vox: Her son died after insurers resisted covering drug rehab. Now she's taking them to court.

HCCI data was used in an article about the cost of substance use disorder rehab.   From the article: "Insurers do seem to be paying more for addiction care than they used to. According to the Health Care Cost Institute, commercial insurers spent a little more than $17,000 on the average patient with a substance use disorder in 2017, up from nearly $13,500 in 2008. That's likely due in pa...
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Nov
21

How common is out-of-network billing?

Congress is considering legislation to address "surprise bills", which occur when a person visits an in-network facility, but receives services from a provider that is outside of their insurer's network. Bills in both the House and Senate include provisions to determine a benchmark rate for out-of-network payments based on what in-network providers of the same specialty are paid for delivering sim...
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Nov
11

HCCI and Blue Health Intelligence® Announce Major New Data Sharing Partnership

Addition of Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies' data will expand nation's leading resource for understanding health care cost trends.  CHICAGO (November 12, 2019) – The Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) and Blue Health Intelligence® (BHI®) announced today a multi-year data partnership, significantly expanding HCCI's data resources and bolstering its ability to provide research insights to a...
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Nov
07

Air Ambulances – 10 Year Trends in Costs and Use

Air ambulances are either fixed wing (airplane) or rotary wing (helicopter) aircraft used to transport people in often time-sensitive medical situations. Air ambulances have become a frequent topic in the news due to their high cost and propensity to lead to surprise bills. Our analysis shows that although air ambulances are not frequently used and their use declined over the 2008 to 2017 period, ...
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Nov
05

Comparing Average Rates for Select Anesthesiology, Emergency Medicine, and Radiology Services by Local Areas

When a person unknowingly receives health care services from a provider that is outside of their insurer's network, it gives rise to the potential for a "surprise bill". Congress continues to consider legislation aimed at reducing the financial burden of "surprise bills" for patients. The approach approved by committees in both the House and Senate is to set a benchmark for the amount that can be ...
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Oct
30

Antidepressant Use Increased for Individuals with a Mood Disorder with Employer-Sponsored Insurance

Depression is a common mood disorder that affects how people feel, think, and conduct daily activities. Approximately 17 million adults (1 in 14) had at least one major depressive episode in 2017. Surveys have found that antidepressant prescribing has increased over the past two decades. For example, a 2017 National Center for Health Statistics survey found that, among people age 12 and ...
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Sep
25

The Wall Street Journal: Cost of Employer-Provided Health Coverage Passes $20,000 a Year

HCCI's 2017 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report was cited in a Wall Street Journal article on the cost of employer-sponsored insurance.  From the article:  "A major driver of the cost of coverage has been the rising prices that insurers and employers pay for health care, said Niall Brennan, chief executive of the Health Care Cost Institute, a nonprofit. "The vast majority o...
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Sep
10

Out-of-Pocket Spending on Insulin is Highest at the Beginning of the Year

People who get health insurance through their jobs pay more than twice as much for insulin at the beginning of the year than they do at the end of the year, on average. New analysis of HCCI data shows that, nationally, in January 2017, average out-of-pocket spending on insulin was $105. This spending declined every month throughout the calendar year, likely as enrollees met their annual deductible...
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Jul
31

State Variation in Opioid Prescribing over 10 Years

Changes in opioid utilization correlated with state-level policy changes aimed at decreasing opioid prescription rates. Previous research by HCCI illustrated that national opioid utilization in pills per person fell 27% between the years of 2008 and 2017, driven by declines in the use of hydrocodone (Vicodin). In addition to giving insight into prescription opioid utilization by the commercially i...
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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...
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Jul
23

Comparing Commercial and Medicare Rates for Select Anesthesia, Emergency Room, and Radiology Services by State

Committees in both the House and Senate have advanced legislation that includes measures to address "surprise bills." A surprise bill results when a person unknowingly receives medical care from a provider that is not part of their insurer's network. Both pieces of legislation set a benchmark for out-of-network payments. Those benchmarks are determined based on the median in-network amount paid by...
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