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Jun
09

Average Payments for Childbirth Among the Commercially Insured and Fee-for-Service Medicaid

It is well-established that the rates hospitals and physicians are paid to provide health care services are significantly lower in Medicaid than in private health insurance. In this brief, we provide new data on this payment gap in the context of childbirth, an especially relevant area of care since Medicaid and ESI together cover the vast majority of births in the United States. We used HCCI's un...
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May
10

The Price of Childbirth in the U.S. Tops $13,000 in 2020

As HCCI has previously documented, the price of childbirth in the U.S. is higher than in many other countries. When prices are high, patients with health insurance pay directly through coinsurance (i.e., cost-sharing calculated as a percent of what their insurer pays for the service) and over time, as higher prices charged to insurers are passed along to individuals through higher premiums. We exa...
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May
10

Birthing People in the U.S. Pay Nearly $2,000 Out-of-Pocket to Have a Baby

The birth of a child is momentous for any person and family. New parents may face a range of challenges, including a lack of paid family leave, the rising costs of childcare, and potential health-related complications for the birthing person and new baby. In the midst of this major life transition, parents also face new financial burdens. A major cost – even among those with health insurance – is ...
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May
10

As COVID-19 Hit, Birthing People Spent Less Time in the Hospital for Delivery

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Americans in a myriad of ways, including their use of the health care system for both COVID- and non-COVID related services. In this brief, we explore the ways in which the first year of the pandemic affected people for one of the most common hospital services – childbirth. In 2020, the first year of the pandemic, more than 3.6 million babies were born in the Uni...
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Apr
28

COVID Tests Cost $0 for Most People in 2020

COVID-19 testing has become a regular part of life for many Americans over the last two years. In addition to facilitating individual returns to work, school, and other activities, testing is a crucial component of the public health strategy to monitor and address the spread of the virus. Even as testing becomes more available, there is widespread concern and frustration about the high and variabl...
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Feb
28

JAMA: Variability in Prices Paid for Hemodialysis by Employer-Sponsored Insurance in the US From 2012 to 2019

Abstract: Recent proposals have sought to limit the amount dialysis clinics charge private payers, but little is known about the prices that private insurers actually pay for dialysis. In this study, we provide novel evidence on dialysis prices based on claims data for a large national sample of private employer-sponsored insurance carriers.
Jan
25

Kansas News Service: Yes, more and more of your paycheck goes to health care in Kansas and Missouri. Here's why

HCCI's 2019 HCCUR and other researcher were featured in an article about spending on employer-sponsored health insurance in Kansas and Missouri. From the article: "A recent study by the Health Care Cost Institute found spending per person with employer health insurance grew more than 20% over five years. That's nearly three times the pace of broader economic inflation." Yes, more and more of ...
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Feb
02

HCCI Launches New, Expanded Dataset

New dataset is 25% larger than original HCCI dataset, containing health insurance claims for 55 million people, one third of people with employer-based health insurance in the United States WASHINGTON, DC (February 2, 2021) — The Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) today announced the launch of its new health care claims dataset for research. The new dataset is more than 25% larger than the original...
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Jan
19

Modern Healthcare: A Peek Behind the Curtain on Hospital Prices

HCCI's research on the prices private insurers pay versus Medicare was featured in Modern Healthcare on the recent CMS price transparency rule.  From the article: "That bright light illuminates hospitals' most lucrative revenue streams. Private insurers pay an estimated 51 percent to 200 percent more than the federal Medicare program, according to a recent Health Care Cost Institute...
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Oct
31

Modern Healthcare: Caring for oldest, sickest patients now a growth business

HCCI's research on spending for individuals with employer-sponsored health insurance was featured in an article for Modern Healthcare. From the article: "Spending per person with employer-sponsored insurance was about $5,900 in 2018, according to the Health Care Cost Institute's latest data." Caring for Medicare Advantage patients now a growth business Medicare Advantage patients are the unlikely ...
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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
28

AHCJ: Report Shows Wide Variation in What Insurers Pay Providers Versus What Medicare Would Have Paid

HCCI's research on comparing commercial and Medicare professional service prices was featured in the newsletter of the Association of Health Care Journalists. From the article:  "In Comparing Commercial and Medicare Professional Service Prices, HCCI researchers compared what health insurers paid to physicians and other providers with what Medicare pays for those services. This repor...
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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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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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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

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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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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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
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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