News
Media coverage of HCCI’s original research

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Aug
04

Daily Deaths During Coronavirus Pandemic by State

The staggering death toll of the novel coronavirus pandemic in the United States has been widely reported, surpassing 154,000 as of August 3rd, 2020. Over the course of the current pandemic a common method for measuring the probable number of deaths caused by COVID-19 has been comparing actual deaths in 2020 to the expected number of deaths in 2020 based on deaths in previous years. To add to the ...
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Jul
27

Analysis of Electronic Medical Record Data Shows Significantly Higher Rates of COVID-19 Infection among Hispanic and Black Patients

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a previously unimaginable impact both in the United States and globally. It is increasingly clear as we enter the fifth month of the pandemic, with rising caseloads and deaths, that the United States will need to continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic for the foreseeable future. Each day, we learn more – about the virus clinically, about the people and...
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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 ...
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Jun
29

Comparing Commercial and 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
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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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...
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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

Use of Prenatal Care Varies among People with Employer-Sponsored Insurance

Prenatal care leads to healthier pregnancy, healthier pregnant people, and healthier babies. In fact, birthing parents who receive prenatal care are three times less likely to deliver low birthweight babies, and the baby is five times more likely to survive delivery. To explore the kind of prenatal care pregnant people receive, we looked at utilization of two prototypical prenatal services – labor...
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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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May
13

Most Postpartum Spending Occurs Beyond 60 Days After Delivery

The postpartum period is a vulnerable time for both birthing parent and newborn and is critically important to their health and well-being. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends ongoing, comprehensive care, including physical, social, and psychological services, during the postpartum period. In large part because of an increasing maternal mortalit...
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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...
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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...
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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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Feb
13

2018 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report

The 2018 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report presents data on health care spending, utilization, and average prices from 2014 through 2018 for individuals under the age of 65 who receive health insurance coverage through an employer. The report draws on data from more than 2.5 billion medical and prescription drug claims for approximately 40 million individuals enrolled in employer-sponsored h...
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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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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
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
12

Insulin Use Explains Variation in Level, but not Growth, of Out-of-Pocket Spending on Insulin Products

We previously published two blogs discussing trends in out-of-pocket spending on insulin products. First, we presented data illustrating how average monthly out-of-pocket spending in 2017 varied considerably by month, particularly for individuals enrolled in consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) that carry higher deductibles. Second, we examined the relationship between increasing point-of-sale p...
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Sep
12

Rising Point-of-Sale Prices for Insulin Correspond with Higher Out-of-Pocket Spending on Insulin in January

Earlier this week we presented data on out-of-pocket spending on insulin during each month in 2017. In that blog, we showed that enrollees in employer-sponsored health insurance paid more out-of-pocket for insulin products at the beginning of the calendar year. We examined the relationship between increasing point-of-sale prices for insulin and higher out-of-pocket spending in January for a subset...
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