News
Media coverage of HCCI’s original research

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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

HCCI releases 2018 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report

Per-Person Health Care Spending Grew 18% from 2014 to 2018, Driven Mostly by PricesAfter remaining stable for several years, utilization increased slightly in 2018Access the report here.WASHINGTON D.C. — Average employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) spending rose to $5,892 per person in 2018, according to the Health Care Cost Institute's annual Health Care Cost and Utilization Report, which analyzes ...
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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
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 ​12.3​17.2​Inpatient Care​7.95.6​8.0​4.8​Outpatient Care​13.1​16.5​13.7​17.2 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 ...
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Nov
25

Comparing Post-Acute Care Use and First Site of Care Among Medicare Advantage Enrollees and Medicare Fee-for-Service Beneficiaries

Using data from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), we examined trends in inpatient hospital admissions and post-acute care (PAC) utilization among Medicare Advantage (MA) and Fee-for-Service (FFS) beneficiaries. Specifically, we compared how frequently individuals in each group were discharged from the hospital, whether they had evidence o...
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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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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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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
15

Opioid Prescriptions Declined 32% for the Commercially Insured over 10 Years (2008 to 2017)

Among people who get health insurance from their employers (56% of the population in 2017), prescription opioid use peaked in 2010/2011 and declined every year from 2012 to 2017. In a new study using the Health Care Cost Institute's commercial claims data from 2008 to 2017, we observed a decline regardless of how utilization was measured. We also found that utilization trends were driven by three ...
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Jun
06

Los Angeles Times: Soaring Insurance Deductibles and High Drug Prices Hit Sick Americans with a 'Double Whammy'

HCCI's research on consumer-directed health plans was recently used to support the second in a series of articles by the Los Angeles Times on high-deductible health plans. From the article: "New research conducted in partnership with The Times for this project also shows that sick Americans use less healthcare when their plan requires them to pay more out of pocket.Analyzing data from ab...
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May
15

Examining the adoption of a new Medicare billing code for cognitive assessments: a slow but steady uptake

 On January 1, 2017, the Medicare program started reimbursing providers for a new procedure code for clinical visits for cognitive assessments and care planning services (CPT code G0505). This newly-billable service is intended to improve the care of patients with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias and hopefully increase early detection and diagnosis. A G0505 visit includes a complete ...
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May
02

Los Angeles Times: Health Insurance Deductibles Soar, Leaving Americans with Unaffordable Bills

HCCI's research on consumer-directed health plans was recently used to support the first in a series of articles by the Los Angeles Times on high-deductible health plans. From the article: "The challenges are most severe for people with the highest deductibles, according to the poll: Nearly half of those in a plan with at least a $3,000 individual deductible or a $5,000 family deductible...
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May
02

Lower Health Care Spending and Use for People with Chronic Conditions in Consumer-Directed Health Plans

To better understand differences in spending and use across types of health plans, we examine individuals enrolled in consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) and individuals enrolled in non-CDHP health plans. CDHPs are a type of HDHP that typically include a health savings account (HSA) or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). We analyzed a sample of over 10 million individuals under the age of...
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Apr
02

Shifting Care from Office to Outpatient Settings: Services are Increasingly Performed in Outpatient Settings with Higher Prices

Where people receive health care matters, especially in terms of costs. The same services may have a much higher price tag when performed in one setting rather than another, but this price difference is rarely publicized to patients. To understand what settings people used and how prices differed, we looked at the utilization and average price paid from 2009 to 2017 for a set of services commonly ...
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Apr
01

Health Care Spending and Utilization in Public and Private Medicare

Abstract:We compare health care spending in public and private Medicare using newly available claims data from Medicare Advantage (MA) insurers. MA insurer revenues are 30 percent higher than their health care spending. Adjusting for enrollee mix, health care spending per enrollee in MA is 9 to 30 percent lower than in Traditional Medicare (TM), depending on the way we define "comparable" enrollee...
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Feb
19

2017 Annual Health Care Cost and Utilization Report Webinar

HCCI recently held a webinar to discuss the 2017 Annual Health Care Cost and Utilization Report.    Download PDF File Here
Feb
11

2017 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report

The 2017 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report shows that spending per privately insured person grew by 4.2 percent, the second year in a row of spending growth over four percent. Price increases were the primary driver. The report covers the period 2013 through 2017 and includes claims data from four national insurance companies: Aetna, Humana, Kaiser Permanente, and UnitedH...
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Nov
15

Trends In Primary Care Visits

Office visits to primary care physicians (PCPs) declined 18 percent from 2012 to 2016 for adults under 65 years old with employer-sponsored health insurance, while office visits to nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) increased 129 percent.Comparing 2012 to 2016, there were 273 fewer office visits per 1,000 insured individuals to primary care physicians over that span, while vi...
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Oct
01

Health Affairs: Assessing The Impact Of State Policies For Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs On High-Risk Opioid Prescriptions

 ABSTRACT:Policies and practices have proliferated to optimize prescribers' use of their states' prescription drug monitoring programs, which are statewide databases of controlled substances dispensed at retail pharmacies. Our study assessed the effectiveness of three such policies: comprehensive legislative mandates to use the program, laws that allow prescribers to delegate its use to offic...
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Jun
19

2016 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report

The 2016 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report shows that spending per privately insured person grew by 4.6 percent, faster than in previous years. Price increases were the primary driver. The report covers the period 2012 through 2016 and includes claims data from four national insurance companies: Aetna, Humana, Kaiser Permanente, and UnitedHealthcare.​  The data in the report can al...
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May
30

ER spending among the commercially insured continued to rise in 2016, driven by the price and use of high severity cases (2009-2016)

HCCI recently expanded its reporting on emergency room (ER) spending trends to include the most recent data available (2016). We characterize trends in spending, price, and utilization for the five Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes designed to capture the level of severity and complexity of every ER visit. While average prices for all five ER CPT codes were higher in 2016 than in 2009, th...
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May
23

Health Services Research: Physical Therapy as the First Point of Care to Treat Low Back Pain: An Instrumental Variables Approach to Estimate Impact on Opioid Prescription, Health Care Utilization, and Costs

 ABSTRACTObjective: To compare differences in opioid prescription, health care utilization, and costs among patients with low back pain (LBP) who saw a physical therapist (PT) at the first point of care, at any time during the episode or not at all.Data Sources: Commercial health insurance claims data, 2009–2013.Study Design: Retrospective analyses using two‐stage residual inclusion instrumen...
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Apr
01

American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology: Nationwide trends in the utilization of and payments for hysterectomy in the United States among commercially insured women

ABSTRACTBackground: Laparotomy followed by inpatient hospitalization has traditionally been the most common surgical care for hysterectomy. The financial implications of the increased use of laparoscopy and outpatient hysterectomy are unknown.Objectives: The objective of the study was to quantify the increasing use of laparoscopy and outpatient hysterectomy and to describe the financial implicatio...
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Mar
01

Obstetrics & Gynecology: Rate of Pelvic Organ Prolapse Surgery Among Privately Insured Women in the United States, 2010-2013

AbstractOBJECTIVE: To analyze utilization of, and payments for, pelvic organ prolapse procedures after the 2011 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) communication regarding transvaginal mesh.METHODS: This is a retrospective cohort study examining private claims from three insurance providers for inpatient and outpatient prolapse procedures from 2010 to 2013 in the Health Care Cost Institute. Pr...
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