Current and Future Research Projects

HCCI's Health Care Cost and Utilization Reports are just the starting point for many independent research studies focused on health care costs in the United States. The following are some of the studies currently underway, by independent researchers, using the Institute's claims-based data:

New Health Affairs Study:

TRENDS UNDERLYING EMPLOYER-SPONSORED HEALTH INSURANCE GROWTH. This study, published in the October 2013 issue of Health Affairs, examines the change in health care spending trends during and immediately after the recession for people under age sixty-five and enrolled in employer-sponsored health insurance. The study, by Carolina-Nicole Herrera, Martin Gaynor, David Newman, Stephen T. Parente, and Robert J. Town, was performed using the Health Care Cost Institute’s Aggregated ESI Cost and Utilization Dataset (2007-2011).

Explore the study: Trends Underlying Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Growth for Americans Younger than Age Sixty-Five

Other Independent Research Projects:

HEALTH CARE COSTS FROM BIRTH TO DEATH. This study examines the impact of age and gender on overall and retiree health costs, Medicare spending, and spending on disease over 2002-2010. The study, by Dale Yamamoto, is supported by the Society of Actuaries.

Explore the report: Health Care Costs from Birth to Death »

ECONOMIC DOWNTURNS AND CHANGES IN HEALTH INSURANCE RISK POOLS. While premium increases in the individual health insurance market surged in some locations during the recession, there has been little or no empirical work examining how insurance risk pools change during economic downturns. Three Northwestern University researchers, David Dranove, Craig Garthwaite, and Chris Ody, are using HCCI data to assess: 1) whether individuals who retain their health insurance during an economic downturn are relatively sicker than those who do so at other times in the business cycle, 2) how changes in the risk pool affect the average cost of medical care for the insured, and 3) what portion of rising health insurance premiums can be explained by this business cycle effect?

DETERMINANTS OF AND VARIATION IN HOSPITAL PRICING. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University (Martin Gaynor) and the London School of Economics (Zack Cooper and John Van Reenen) are studying: 1) variation in hospital pricing and the extent to which more expensive hospitals provide better care, 2) the relative contribution of rising prices to rising hospital spending, 3) the influence of hospital market structure on the prices hospitals charge for care, and 4) whether hospitals cost shift, i.e., raise the prices they charge to private patients as publicly funded patients' reimbursement rates fall. This study will be the first to examine these questions using national data on actual payments.

Additional studies under review address cost and health information technologies, and whether price or utilization are driving increases in Medicare Advantage costs. Check back here and sign up for research updates to learn about future research studies as they are approved.