News
The latest news from HCCI

For general media inquiries or to propose collaborative projects, please contact us

Dec
13

American Academy of Pediatrics: Insurance Mandates and Out-of-Pocket Spending for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

ABSTRACT   BACKGROUND: The health care costs associated with treating autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children can be substantial. State-level mandates that require insurers to cover ASD-specific services may lessen the financial burden families face by shifting health care spending to insurers. METHODS : We estimated the effects of ASD mandates on out-of-pocket spending, insurer spend...
Continue reading
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 offi...
Continue reading
Sep
19

Health Affairs: Health Care Spending Under Employer-Sponsored Insurance: A 10-Year Retrospective

ABSTRACT Using a national sample of health care claims data from the Health Care Cost Institute, we found that total spending per capita (not including premiums) on health services for enrollees in employer-sponsored insurance plans increased by 44 percent from 2007 through 2016 (average annual growth of 4.1 percent). Spending increased across all major categories of health services, although the ...
Continue reading
Sep
11

Journal of General Internal Medicine: First Opioid Prescription and Subsequent High-Risk Opiod Use, a National Survey of Privately Insured and Medicare Advantage Adults

​ BACKGROUND : National guidelines make recommendations  regarding the initial opioid prescriptions, but most  of the supporting evidence is from the initial episode of  care, not the first prescription. OBJECTIVE : To examine associations between features of  the first opioid prescription and high-risk opioid use in the  18 months following the first prescription. DESIGN ...
Continue reading
Jun
25

Medical Care Research and Review: Prices for Physicians’ Services in Medicare Advantage and Commercial Plans

ABSTRACT: The prices that insurers pay physicians ultimately affect beneficiaries' health insurance premiums. Using 2014 claims data from three major insurers, we analyzed the prices insurers paid in their Medicare Advantage (MA) and commercial plans for 20 physician services, in and out of network, and compared those prices with estimated amounts that Medicare's fee-for-service (FFS) program...
Continue reading
Jun
11

INQUIRY The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing: How do the Hospital Prices Paid by Medicare Advantage Plans and Commercial Plans Compare with Medicare Fee-for-Service Prices?

ABSTRACT The prices that private insurers pay hospitals have received considerable attention in recent years, but most of that literature has focused on the commercially insured population. Although nearly one-third of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, little is known about the prices paid to hospitals by the private insurers that administer such plans. More in...
Continue reading
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

 ABSTRACT Objective: 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 instru...
Continue reading
May
01

NBER: The Price Ain't Right? Hospital Prices and Health Spending on the Privately Insured

ABSTRACT: We use insurance claims data covering 28 percent of individuals with employer-sponsored health insurance in the US to study the variation in health spending on the privately insured, examine the structure of insurer-hospital contracts, and analyze the variation in hospital prices across the nation. Health spending per privately insured beneficiary differs by a factor of three across...
Continue reading
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

ABSTRACT Background: 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 implicat...
Continue reading
Mar
01

Medical Care: The Differential Effects of Insurance Mandates on Health Care Spending for Children’s Autism Spectrum Disorder

ABSTRACT Objectives: There is substantial variation in treatment intensity among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study asks whether policies that target health care utilization for ASD affect children differentially based on this variation. Specifically, we examine the impact of state-level insurance mandates that require commercial insurers to cover certain treatments for ASD f...
Continue reading
Feb
01

NBER: Hospital Pricing and Public Payments

ABSTRACT: A longstanding debate in health economics and health policy concerns how hospitals adjust prices with private insurers following reductions in public funding. A common argument is that hospitals engage in some degree of "cost-shifting," wherein hospitals increase prices with private insurers in response to a reduction in public payments; however, evidence of significant costshifting...
Continue reading
Feb
01

New England Journal of Medicine: Consistently High Turnover in the Group of Top Health Care Spenders

 NEJM CATALYST: "The concentration of most U.S. health care spending in a small proportion of individuals is well documented. The notion that high health care spending only affects a small portion of people in a given year is particularly relevant to the ongoing policy debate about how to make health insurance affordable for all, while accommodating people with complex health care needs and a...
Continue reading
Dec
01

Health Affairs: Rising Use Of Observation Care Among The Commercially Insured May Lead to Total And Out-Of-Pocket Cost Savings

ABSTRACT:  Proponents of hospital-based observation care argue that it has the potential to reduce health care spending and lengths-of-stay, compared to short-stay inpatient hospitalizations. However, critics have raised concerns about the out-of-pocket spending associated with observation care. Recent reports of high out-of-pocket spending among Medicare beneficiaries have received cons...
Continue reading
Nov
20

New England Journal of Medicine: The Value of Health Insurance through Price Discounts

 NEJM CATALYST: " As context for the ongoing health care reform debate, we analyzed Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) data. HCCI is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization aimed at providing complete and accurate information about health care utilization and costs in the United States. Our goal was to demonstrate the value of insurance through these discounted rates. We did so by calculating me...
Continue reading
Oct
01

Health Affairs: Effects Of State Insurance Mandates On Health Care Use And Spending For Autism Spectrum Disorder

ABSTRACT: Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have enacted insurance mandates that require commercial insurers to cover treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study examined whether implementing autism mandates altered service use or spending among commercially insured children with ASD. We compared children age twenty-one or younger who were eligible for m...
Continue reading
Oct
01

JAMA Oncology: Association Between Quality of Care for Breast Cancer and Health Insurance Exchange Coverage An Analysis of Use of Radiation Therapy After Breast-Conserving Surgery

ABSTRACT Research comparing quality of cancer care by insurance categories concluded that cancer patients without insurance or with Medicaid experienced inferior quality of care compared with those with private insurance. A new insurance category created from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is insurance purchased from the Health Insurance Marketplace (also known as the exchange). The present st...
Continue reading
Sep
01

Health Affairs: Insurer Market Power Lowers Prices In Numerous Concentrated Provider Markets

 ABSTRACT: Using prices of hospital admissions and visits to five types of physicians, we analyzed how provider and insurer market concentration—as measured by the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI)—interact and are correlated with prices. We found evidence that in the range of the Department of Justice's and Federal Trade Commission's definition of a moderately concentrated market (HHI of...
Continue reading
Sep
01

NBER: Does Multispecialty Practice Enhance Physician Market Power?

ABSTRACT: In markets for health services, vertical integration – common ownership of producers of complementary services – may have both pro- and anti-competitive effects. Despite this, no empirical research has examined the consequences of multispecialty physician practice – a common and increasing form of vertical integration – for physician prices. We use data on 40 million commercially in...
Continue reading
Sep
01

Women's Health Issues: Maternal Medical Complexity Impact on Prenatal Health Care Spending among Women at Low Risk for Cesarean Section

ABSTRACT Background: Obstetric procedures are among the most expensive health care services, yet relatively little is known about health care spending among pregnant women, particularly the commercially-insured. Objective: The objective of this study was to examine the association between maternal medical complexity, as a result of having one or more comorbid conditions, and health care spending d...
Continue reading
May
04

Academic Emergency Medicine: Association Between Maternal Comorbidities and Emergency Department Use Among a National Sample of Commercially Insured Pregnant Women

ABSTRACT Objectives: Evidence suggests that, despite routine engagement with the health system, pregnant women commonly seek emergency care. The objectives of this study were to examine the association between maternal comorbidities and emergency department (ED) use among a national sample of commercially insured pregnant women. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using multipayer m...
Continue reading
Mar
01

Health Affairs: Reference Pricing Changes the 'Choice Architecture' of Health Care for Consumers

ABSTRACT: Reference pricing in health insurance creates incentives for patients to select for nonemergency services providers that charge relatively low prices and still offer high quality of care. It changes the "choice architecture" by offering standard coverage if the patient chooses cost-effective providers but requires considerable consumer cost sharing if more expensive alternatives are sele...
Continue reading
Feb
19

Health Services Research: Payer Type and Low‐Value Care: Comparing Choosing Wisely Services across Commercial and Medicare Populations

ABSTRACT Objective: To compare low‐value health service use among commercially insured and Medicare populations and explore the influence of payer type on the provision of low‐value care.​ Data Sources: 2009–2011 national Medicare and commercial insurance administrative data. Design: We created claims‐based algorithms to measure seven Choosing Wisely‐identified low‐value services and examined the ...
Continue reading
Jan
01

JAMA Internal Medicine: A Perspective on Out-of-Pocket Spending

To the Editor Understanding out-of-pocket spending is critical to understanding health care costs in the United States. We applaud the efforts of Adrion et al as an important contribution to understanding the out-of-pocket spending of the commercially insured population younger than 65 years. The commercially insured comprise over 50% of the nonelderly US population and, as demonstrated by Ad...
Continue reading
Jan
01

NBER Working Paper: Healthcare Spending and Utilization in Public and Private Medicare

ABSTRACT: We compare healthcare 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 healthcare spending. Healthcare spending is 25 percent lower for MA enrollees than for enrollees in traditional Medicare (TM) in the same county with the same risk score. Spending differences between MA...
Continue reading
Oct
01

NBER: Why Don't Commercial Health Plans Use Prospective Payment?

ABSTRACT One of the key terms in contracts between hospitals and insurers is how the parties apportion the financial risk of treating unexpectedly costly patients. "Prospective" payment contracts give hospitals a lump-sum amount, depending on the medical condition of the patient, with limited adjustment for the level of services provided. We use data from the Medicare Prospective Payment System an...
Continue reading
Sep
01

JAMA Pediatrics: Effects of Autism Spectrum Disorder Insurance Mandates on the Treated Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder

ABSTRACT Importance: Most states have passed insurance mandates requiring commercial health plans to cover services for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Insurers have expressed concerns that these mandates will increase the number of children diagnosed with ASD (treated prevalence) and therefore increase costs associated with their care. To our knowledge, no published studies have add...
Continue reading
Sep
01

JAMA Internal Medicine: Out-of-Pocket Spending for Hospitalizations Among Nonelderly Adults

ABSTRACT Importance: Patients' out-of-pocket spending for major health care expenses, such as inpatient care, may result in substantial financial distress. Limited contemporary data exist on out-of-pocket spending among nonelderly adults. Objectives: To evaluate out-of-pocket spending associated with hospitalizations and to assess how this spending varied over time and by patient characteristics, ...
Continue reading
Aug
01

Health Affairs: Medicare Advantage Plans Pay Hospitals Less Than Traditional Medicare Pays

ABSTRACT There is ongoing debate about how prices paid to providers by Medicare Advantage plans compare to prices paid by fee-for-service Medicare. We used data from Medicare and the Health Care Cost Institute to identify the prices paid for hospital services by fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans, and commercial insurers in 2009 and 2012. We calculated the average price per a...
Continue reading
Jun
03

Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare: Reimbursements for telehealth services are likely to be lower than non-telehealth services in the United States

ABSTRACT: Telehealth technologies promise to increase access to care, particularly in underserved communities. However, little is known about how private payer reimbursements vary between telehealth and non-telehealth services. We use the largest private claims database in the United States provided by the Health Care Cost Institute to identify telehealth claims and compare average reimbursem...
Continue reading
Nov
20

American Journal of Managed Care: Overcoming barriers to a research-ready national commercial claims database

ABSTRACT Objectives: Billions of dollars have been spent on the goal of making healthcare data available to clinicians and researchers in the hopes of improving healthcare and lowering costs. However, the problems of data governance, distribution, and accessibility remain challenges for the healthcare system to overcome. Study Design: In this study, we discuss some of the issues around holdin...
Continue reading
Aug
01

Health Affairs: Health Spending Slowdown Is Mostly Due To Economic Factors, Not Structural Change In The Health Care Sector

ABSTRACT: The source of the recent slowdown in health spending growth remains unclear. We used new and unique data on privately insured people to estimate the effect of the economic slowdown that began in December 2007 on the rate of growth in health spending. By exploiting regional variations in the severity of the slowdown, we determined that the economic slowdown explained approximately 70...
Continue reading
Oct
01

Health Affairs: Trends Underlying Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Growth For Americans Younger Than Age Sixty-Five

ABSTRACT Little is known about the trends in health care spending for the 156 million Americans who are younger than age sixty-five and enrolled in employer-sponsored health insurance. Using a new source of health insurance claims data, we estimated per capita spending, utilization, and prices for this population between 2007 and 2011. During this period per capita spending on employer-sponsored i...
Continue reading