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Media coverage of HCCI’s original research

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Jun
11

Real World Consequences of the Qualifying Payment Amount in the No Surprises Act

The United States Congress passed the No Surprises Act last year, offering several protections to consumers. Beginning in 2022, providers can no longer bill patients for more than their insurance's in-network cost sharing. The law also bans balance billing except in situations where a patient is notified in advance and their written consent is obtained. Independent dispute resolution between insur...
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May
28

JAMA Health Forum: Comparison of Anticancer Medication Use and Spending Under US Oncology Parity Laws With and Without Out-of-Pocket Spending Caps

Abstract:  IMPORTANCE  By 2020, nearly all states had adopted oncology parity laws in the US, ensuring that patients in fully insured private health plans pay no more for orally administered anticancer medications (OAMs) than infused therapies. Between 2013 and mid-2017, 11 states implemented parity with out-of-pocket spending caps, which may further reduce patient out-of-pocket spending...
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May
11

NYS Health Foundation: Variation in Health Care Prices: The Problem Starts at Birth

Summary The price of childbirth in New York City varies multifold, depending on where a woman delivers. This variation in price across boroughs, and across providers within boroughs, might make sense if it corresponded to higher-quality care. But higher prices do not always signify better quality. This report examines variation in what is paid for childbirth in each of the five boroughs of New Yor...
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May
05

Health Affairs: Private Equity In Dermatology: Effect On Price, Utilization, And Spending

Abstract: Private equity firms have increasingly acquired physician practices, and particularly dermatology practices. Analyzing commercial claims from the Health Care Cost Institute (2012–17), we used a difference-in-differences design within an event study framework to estimate the prevalence of private equity acquisitions and their impact on dermatologist prices, spending, utilization, and volu...
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Apr
16

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Use of Preventive Health Care

Updated 4/16/2021 to include data through 12/30/2020. Since the original post on 9/9/2020, the data have been adjusted to account for claims submission lags. For more information, see Methods Note below. COVID-19 has had an extraordinary impact on the US health care system since its emergence in early 2020. One of the largest and most immediate impacts has been the death toll, with ...
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Apr
01

The Insanity of U.S. Health Care Pricing: An Early Look at Hospital Price Transparency Data

The numbers in this report have been updated to reflect the most recent pricing data made available by Sutter Health. While nearly all of the prices remained unchanged (93%), some, generally higher cost services were revised downward by Sutter. For example, in the initial report we found that C-section prices ranged from $7,634 to $89,244 across the Sutter system, whereas in the more recently avai...
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Mar
08

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 523,000 as of March 8, 2021. 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 gro...
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Feb
24

Using Medicare Data to Improve Vaccine Targeting: Providers Serving Highest Risk Patients

As the production and distribution of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines ramps up in the United States, there is a need to ensure that communities at highest risk for severe COVID-19 morbidity and mortality are targeted. As of February 2021, the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines, which were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in late 2020, remai...
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Feb
18

COVID-19 Disparities Persist in Community Health Centers' Vulnerable Populations

Community Health Centers (CHCs) serve over 29 million vulnerable patients, making the lack of data on COVID-19-related racial disparities in patients served in CHCs a critical knowledge gap in assessments of the pandemic's national impact. In rural and poor urban areas, CHCs may be the only accessible healthcare option. Even when other options exist, CHCs reduce barriers such as cost, lack of insu...
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Jan
25

When the Medicare Rate Isn’t the Medicare Rate: Analyzing Differences Between the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and Payments Received by Physicians.

Increasingly, policymakers are considering proposals that tie payments made by private health insurers, in some way, to rates paid by Medicare. These proposals are inspired by the rising cost of health care and widespread variation in health care prices. For example, we recently found that the cost of the same service can vary by 5-fold, 10-fold or more within the same market among the commerciall...
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Dec
21

American Economic Review: Screening and Selection: The Case of Mammograms

Abstract: We analyze selection into screening in the context of recommendations that breast cancer screening start at age 40. Combining medical claims with a clinical oncology model, we document that compliers with the recommendation are less likely to have cancer than younger women who select into screening or women who never screen. We show this selection is quantitatively important: shifting th...
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Dec
09

How Differences Between Commercial, Medicare Professional Service Prices Could Result in Different Policy Impacts

 Introduction As rising health care costs force difficult choices for families, employers, and federal, state, and local governments, a range of policy proposals are emerging to address health care spending in the U.S. In this presidential election year, there has been heightened attention on lowering health care costs and making care more affordable, which will likely accelerate with the ele...
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Nov
12

Past the Healthy Marketplace Index, Volume II: Exploring Changes in Actual Prices Paid for Specific Services by Metro Area from 2013 to 2017

In the first brief of the Past the Healthy Marketplace Index series, we explored how prices compared across the country and found that, in 2017, health care prices for specific services varied by as much as 22-fold across metro areas and even up 40-fold within them. In this next brief, we looked at variation in price growth and examined if that variation was related to the substantial observed dif...
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Nov
12

Past the Healthy Marketplace Index, Volume I: Exploring Actual Prices Paid for Specific Services by Metro Area

How much people spend on health care from place to place reflects multiple, interwoven, and dynamic factors, such as the cost and use of services. Health care spending and its driving factors change over time, differ across geographies, and vary by type of service. The Health Care Cost Institute's (HCCI) Healthy Marketplace Index (HMI) provides a number of metrics illustrating how health care spen...
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Oct
14

Electronic Medical Record Data Suggest Disparities in COVID Incidence Persist Across Regions and Over Time

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a growing body of research has found alarming disparities in rates of the virus among Black and Hispanic communities. For example, the CDC reports that "American Indian or Alaska Native, Non-Hispanic" people and "Hispanic or Latino" people each have 2.8 times as many COVID cases than white people, Black patients have 2.6 time as many, and Asian people have...
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Oct
14

The Impact of COVID-19 on Years of Life Lost

Summary: Since April, 1.9 million excess years of life have been lost, 13% above historical average. Over the course of the pandemic, we found age and sex contributions to excess YLL have shifted. Deaths among adults 65 and older accounted for 80% of excess YLL in April but only 36% of excess YLL in June. Since April, working age adults 20-64 have accounted for 47% of excess YLL, and males 20...
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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...
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Aug
13

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 both...
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Aug
13

Commercial Prices Relative to Medicare Vary Within Metro Areas Across Specialties and by Type of Service

Earlier HCCI research found that at the national level, commercial payers paid prices that were, on average, 122% of Medicare. However, we found that commercial professional service prices varied dramatically across states from 98% of Medicare in Alabama to 188% of Medicare in Wisconsin. There was similar variation within states, such as California, and also substantial variation within Metro Area...
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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
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
02

Health Affairs Blog: Out-of-Network Spending: Why Growing Attention Is Focused On A Small Share Of Medical Spending

In HCCI's publication in Health Affairs Blog, we examine the cost and utilization of out-of-network care in commercial claims.  From the article:  "People receiving surprise bills, sometimes totaling tens of thousands of dollars, have been frequently chronicled by high-profile media stories and in academic research over the past several years. Previous research from the Health ...
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