News
The latest news from HCCI

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

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,...
Continue reading
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 ...
Continue reading
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...
Continue reading
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...
Continue reading
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 thr...
Continue reading
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...
Continue reading
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...
Continue reading
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 deductib...
Continue reading
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...
Continue reading
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 ...
Continue reading
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" enrolle...
Continue reading
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...
Continue reading
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 v...
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
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 a...
Continue reading
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...
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
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
Feb
09

Health Affairs: Health Spending Growth Is Accelerating; Prices Are In The Driver’s Seat

 HEALTH AFFAIRS BLOG: "Perhaps nothing illustrates the intractability of America's struggle with health spending more than the recent announcement by Amazon, JP Morgan, and Berkshire Hathaway that they were founding a new entity to address health care costs for their employees. Despite lacking any concrete details this announcement managed to wipe billions of dollars in market capitalization ...
Continue reading
Jan
23

News Wise: Plotting the Downward Trend in Traditional Hysterectomy

​ Fewer women are getting hysterectomies in every state across the country.  Instead, more patients may be choosing minimally invasive procedures or other alternatives to handle issues like pelvic pain and fibroids over a traditional abdominal hysterectomy, new Michigan Medicine research suggests. The rate of hysterectomies in the U.S. decreased 12 percent between 2010 and 2013, from nearly 4...
Continue reading
Jan
23

Washington Post: Working Americans are using less health care, but spending more

By: Carolyn Johnson Americans who get health insurance through their jobs are not using more medical care than they were five years ago, but they are spending more due to soaring medical prices, according to a new report. Health spending for the more than 150 million people who receive insurance through their employers was $5,407 per person in 2016. That is a 4.6 percent increase over 2015, even t...
Continue reading
Dec
20

Workers in low income counties more likely to be long-term opioid users

Past literature has found links between higher opioid use and local economic conditions for people enrolled in public health programs, but there has been little discussion of whether this relationship occurs among the privately insured. Using HCCI claims data and county level income data from the US Census Bureau, we examined how a county's median household income relates to long-term opioid use a...
Continue reading
Dec
01

Medicare Advantage Health Care Utilization - Observation Stays

This data brief reports on outpatient observations stays in the Medicare Advantage population from 2010 through 2014. The results show that the rate of observations stays increased in total as well as following hospitalizations.    Download PDF File Here
Nov
22

2015 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report

The 2015 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report shows that spending per privately insured averaged $5,141 in 2015, up $226 from the year before. Key Findings  ​Health care spending averaged $5,141 per individual in 2015, up $226 from the year before. Out-of-pocket spending rose 3.0 percent in 2015, to an average of $813 per capita. Spending on prescription drugs grew faster than spending on ...
Continue reading
Sep
01

Consumer-Driven Health Plans: A Cost and Utilization Analysis

This data brief examines the health care use and spending from 2010-2014 for people who are enrolled in consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs), and compares these trends to non-CDHP enrollees. Findings indicate that although fewer total dollars were spent on health care for CDHP enrollees, they had higher per capita out-of-pocket spending on deductibles, copays, and coinsurance.    Downloa...
Continue reading
Sep
01

Taking the Pulse of Health Care Markets

 This data brief discusses patterns in the price and utilization indices reported in the 2015 Healthy Marketplace Index Report.   Download PDF File Here
Feb
01

The Impact of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act on Inpatient Admissions

 The 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) sought to improve access to mental health and substance use services. The Health Care Cost Institute, Inc. (HCCI) analyzed mental health, substance use, and medical/surgical inpatient per capita spending, utilization, prices, and out-of-pocket payments for individuals younger than age 65 and covered by employer-sponsored health ...
Continue reading
Jul
01

Trends in Children's Health Care Costs and Utilization

This research brief highlights findings from the Health Care Cost Institute's (HCCI) Children's Health Care Spending Report: 2007—2010. 1 The report tracks changes in expenditure and utilization of health care services for children age 18 and younger, who were covered by employer-sponsored private health insurance (ESI).   Download PDF File Here
May
21

2010 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report

The 2010 HCCI Health Care Cost and Utilization Report is the first report of its kind to track changes in expenditures and utilization of health care services by those younger than 65 covered by employer sponsored, private health insurance (ESI). This report assesses the levels and changes in prices and utilization (including changes in the mix of services) focusing on 2009 and 2010. This report i...
Continue reading