News
Media coverage of HCCI’s original research

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Jul
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 131,000 as of July 8, 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 grow...
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Jun
30

Research Collaborative Releases Major New Collection of North Carolina Health Care Spending Data

HCCI, Duke, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina release interactive data on state health care spending to inform the public and policymakers. DURHAM, NC – Researchers at The Health Care Cost Institute, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, Duke University School of Medicine Department of Population Health Sciences, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nort...
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May
13

An Inflection Point for HCCI: Upcoming Releases, New COVID-19 Projects & Expanded Dataset

It's been a while since my last broad-based update on HCCI's work. With so much going on in the world, I want to bring you up to speed on the many activities underway at HCCI, including our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and our transition to a new dataset that will incorporate claims from Aetna, Humana and Blue Health Intelligence. Everyone's attention is rightfully focused on COVID-19 right n...
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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

HCCI Provides Comments for CMS's Proposed Transparency in Coverage Rule

On November 27, 2019 CMS proposed a rule (CMS-9915-P) requiring group health plans and health insurance issuers in the individual and group markets to disclose cost-sharing information to enrollees, including an estimates of an enrollee's cost-sharing liability for covered items or services furnished by a particular provider. As also noted in our comments on rule CMS-1717-P, HC...
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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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Nov
12

Health Affairs: Stop Blaming The Victim: The Case For Systemic Health System Transparency

In HCCI's publication in Health Affairs Blog, we examine the case for systemic health system transparency and directing changes towards key stakeholders.  From the article: "Health care costs strain the budgets of families, businesses, and governments, leaving less room for other spending and forcing painful tradeoffs. In 2017, the United States spent $3.5 trillion on health care - ...
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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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Sep
25

HCCI Provides Comments for CMS's Proposed Outpatient Prospective Payment System Rule

On August 9, 2019, CMS released a rule for calendar year 2020 revisions to the Medicare hospital outpatient prospective payment system (CMS-1717-P).Our comments specifically refer to Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 180 on Price Transparency of Hospital Standard Charges. Feedback will be used to guide discussions on improving price transparency in health care. We are con...
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Mar
01

HCCI Responds to Chairman Alexander's Request for Recommendations to Address Rising Health Care Costs

HCCI was recently requested to respond to a request from Senate HELP Committee Chairman, Senator Lamar Alexander, for recommendations to address America's rising health care costs. HCCI recommends establishing a comprehensive multi-payer source of health claims data which could then be used to evaluate the performance of the health care system and future policy proposals.   Download PDF File ...
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Jan
30

HCCI Announces End of Data Sharing Agreement with United Healthcare

HCCI will continue to analyze spending trends; Researchers will have HCCI data access until the end of 2022 The Health Care Cost Institute and United Healthcare are sunsetting their data collaboration relationship agreement, that has provided United's deidentified insurance claims data for analyses of U.S. healthcare spending, utilization, and market performance. HCCI continues to receive data fro...
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Sep
18

The Wall Street Journal: Behind Your Rising Health-Care Bills: Secret Hospital Deals That Squelch Competition

Behind Your Rising Health-Care Bills: Secret Hospital Deals That Squelch Competition - WSJ Hidden provisions in contracts between health-care providers and insurers allow hospitals to hide prices from consumers, add fees and discourage use of less-expensive rivals. https://www.wsj.com/articles/behind-your-rising-health-care-bills-secret-hospital-deals-that-squelch-competition-1537281963?mod=hp_lea...
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Jun
19

The Opacity of Transparency: The Search for a Cure to Our Health Care Woes

By: Niall Brennan Health care spending is exceedingly difficult to control for our nation, the states, and private payers, but also for individual patients and providers. While there has been some moderation in spending in recent years in programs like Medicare, the health share of gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to continue to rise from 17.9 percent in 2016 to 19.7 percent in 2026 (see ...
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Mar
23

HCCI's Response to Senate Request for Feedback on Price Transparency

On February 28, 2018, HCCI, among other key stakeholders, was asked to provide feedback to several questions posed by six U.S. Senators on the issue of health care price transparency. The Senators are launching a bipartisan effort to increase health care price and information transparency to empower patients, improve the quality of health care, and lower health care costs. Feedback was due March 2...
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Mar
05

KHN: Need A Medical Procedure? Pick The Right Provider And Get Cash Back

Laurie Cook went shopping recently for a mammogram near her home in New Hampshire. Using an online tool provided through her insurer, she plugged in her ZIP code. Up popped facilities in her network, each with an incentive amount she would be paid if she chose it. Paid? To get a test? It's part of a strategy to rein in health care spending by steering patients to the most cost-effective providers ...
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Feb
23

Health Payer Intelligence: Medicare Advantage Evaluation Requires Transparent Claims Data

 By Thomas Beaton February 23, 2018 - The growth of the Medicare Advantage (MA) market requires the release of more claims data to evaluate the commercial and government impact of the program, according to a recent JAMA commentary from the Health Care Cost Institute, ProPublica, and the VA. "Despite the important and increasing role of Medicare Advantage plans, there is fairly little insight ...
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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

Welcome to the HCCI blog – HealthyBytes!

We've launched a blog to expand the way in which we share findings and insights based on our data with the wider world. While we remain committed to our signature publications such as our annual Health Care Cost and Utilization Report  and our Issue and Data Briefs, sometimes a finding is just too interesting to wait for a more formal publication. We would love feedback from readers on the nu...
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Sep
02

Modern Healthcare: Q&A with Brennan - "You are going to have more of an interest in what services actually cost"

Three months ago, Niall Brennan was appointed president and executive director of the Health Care Cost Institute, a not-for-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that focuses on improving price transparency through the use of insurance data. He succeeds David Newman, a health policy expert who had led the organization since its founding in 2011. Brennan was the CMS first chief data office...
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Apr
27

NBC News: U.S. Health Care Prices Are All Over the Map, New Study Finds

By: Maggie Fox  Why does a knee replacement cost $29,000 in Kansas but $40,000 in next-door Colorado? Health care prices are all over the map in the U.S., a new study finds. It digs deeply into the crazy pattern of health costs across the U.S. and shows there is very little consistency. The report from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) finds prices for the same procedures vary by som...
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Jan
09

Slate: A Failed Cure for Health Care Costs

By: Helaine Olen  It's a new year, and you know what that means: Your health insurance deductible just reset. Which for many of us means looking forward to paying a significant amount out of pocket for health care until we've spent enough for our insurance payments to kick in. According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2016, the average deductible for an American with employer-bas...
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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
May
05

Healthzette: The Health Savings We’re Missing - Cost transparency tools exist ... yet we're not using them

 By: Kristen Fischer  We have the tools to shop around and save on health care costs — but we aren't using them. A new Harvard Medical School study reveals that consumer access to price transparency tools doesn't make them any more popular or likely to decrease health care spending. Do we not want to save money, especially in a health care climate in which out-of-pocket costs are soaring...
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Apr
27

NPR: That Surgery Might Cost You A Lot Less In Another Town

By: Alison Kodjak  Need knee replacement surgery? It may be worthwhile to head for Tucson. That's because the average price for a knee replacement in the Arizona city is $21,976, about $38,000 less than it would in Sacramento, Calif. That's according to a report issued Wednesday by the Health Care Cost Institute. The report, called the National Chartbook on Health Care Prices, uses claims and...
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Mar
18

Forbes: Don't Be Fooled - Patients Can Shop For Healthcare

By: Yevgeniy Feyman Price and quality transparency in health care has often been seen as the missing link for extracting more value out of our health care system. With the appropriate financial incentives, along with easily accessible cost estimators and information on physician and hospital quality, patients could flock to the lowest-cost, highest-quality providers. But a new study by the Health ...
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