The United States has a profound problem with health care spending. Rising health care costs are stifling economic growth, consuming increasing portions of the nation’s gross domestic product, and putting added burdens on businesses, the public sector, individuals, and families. In spite of heightened concerns about the harmful impacts of US health care spending, information about what is driving spending is incomplete.
Most of our knowledge about health care costs comes from the Medicare program as Medicare data have historically been the only complete, consistent source of data on health care spending. While we have very good information about Medicare, it only reflects the experience of elderly and disabled enrollees. One-half of the US population (and two-thirds of those with health insurance) has private health insurance.
There is a need for research on private health insurance claims data in order to get a more complete picture of health care costs, understand what is driving them, and find ways to improve the health care sector. To that end, the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) was established in 2011 to help complete the picture on health care spending by drawing on health care cost and utilization data for Americans covered by private insurance.
HCCI is a non-partisan, non-profit organization with a public-interest mission. Its overarching goal is to provide complete, accurate, unbiased information about health care utilization and costs to better understand the US health care system. Through research and access to a large health insurance claims database, HCCI seeks to offer answers to critical questions about health care spending and utilization for the entire privately insured health population.
To achieve that goal, HCCI seeks to:
• Create the first complete, comprehensive national claims database with information on health care utilization and costs;
• Make its comprehensive claims database available to academics to conduct research on the determinants of US health care costs and utilization;
• Analyze and report regularly to the public on national, regional, and state trends in health care spending and utilization;
• Promote the efforts of states to improve the functioning of their health care systems by supporting innovative activities such as all-payer claims databases and transparency initiatives; and
• Inform purchasers and policymakers regarding cost and utilization trends, implications of system delivery reforms, and the impacts of other policies.