Publications
HCCI’s external researcher publications powered by #HCCIdata

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 ...
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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" enrollee...
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Feb
27

BMC Public Health: Area-Level Deprivation and Preterm Birth: Results from a National, Commercially-Insured Population

AbstractBackground: Area-level deprivation is associated with multiple adverse birth outcomes. Few studies have examined the mediating pathways through which area-level deprivation affects these outcomes. The objective of this study was to investigate the association between area-level deprivation and preterm birth, and examine the mediating effects of maternal medical, behavioural, and psych...
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Feb
04

Health Affairs: Variation In Health Spending Growth For The Privately Insured From 2007 to 2014

ABSTRACTWe examined the growth in health spending on people with employer-sponsored private insurance in the period 2007–14. Our analysis relied on information from the Health Care Cost Institute data set, which includes insurance claims from Aetna, Humana, and UnitedHealthcare. In the study period private health spending per enrollee grew 16.9 percent, while growth in Medicare spending per fee-fo...
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Feb
04

Health Affairs: Medicare Advantage And Commercial Prices For Mental Health Services

​Abstract:In 2014, insurers paid an average of 13–14 percent less for in-network mental health services in their commercial and Medicare Advantage plans than fee-for-service Medicare paid for identical services—despite paying up to 12 percent more than Medicare when the same services were provided by other physician specialties. However, patients went out of network more frequently for mental heal...
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Feb
04

Health Affairs: Hospital Prices Grew Substantially Faster Than Physician Prices For Hospital-Based Care In 2007–14

Abstract:Evidence suggests that growth in providers' prices drives growth in health care spending on the privately insured. However, existing work has not systematically differentiated between the growth rate of hospital prices and that of physician prices. We analyzed growth in both types of prices for inpatient and hospital-based outpatient services using actual negotiated prices paid by insurer...
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Jan
01

Medical Care: Competition in Outpatient Procedure Markets

 AbstractBackground: More than half of all medical procedures performed in the United States occur in an outpatient setting, yet few studies have explored how competition among ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) and hospitals affects prices for commercially insured outpatient services.Objectives: We examined the association between prices for commercially insured outpatient procedure...
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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 spending...
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Nov
01

American Academy of Actuaries: Estimating the Potential Health Care Savings of Reference Pricing

Executive Summary:High and rising health care prices play a major role in the persistent increases in health care spending. This study, undertaken by the American Academy of Actuaries Health Practice Council, explores the potential for reference pricing to counter high health care prices and contain health care spending growth. Reference pricing is a system in which an insurer selects a price it i...
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Nov
01

International Journal of Radiation Oncology: Impact of Medicare Advantage Enrollment on Utilization of Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy and Cost of Care for Cancer Treatment

Abstract:Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is an important driver of rising costs in oncology care, but the level of evidence supporting its routine use varies across disease sites, including breast, lung, and prostate. While Medicare Advantage (MA) plans have incentives to reduce health care spending, the effect of MA enrollment on utilization of high-cost medical services and quality ...
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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 offic...
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Sep
14

American Journal of Health Economics: 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...
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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: Retrospec...
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Sep
04

The Quarterly Journal of Economics: The Price Ain't Right? Hospital Prices and Health Spending on the Privately Insured

​Abstract: We use insurance claims data covering 28% of individuals with employer-sponsored health insurance in the United States 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 a...
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Sep
01

The Society of Actuaries: Predicting High-Cost Members in the HCCI Database

Abstract:Using the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) database, which contains claim information on approximately 47 million members annually over a seven-year time period, we examined which characteristics best predict and describe high-cost members. We found that cost history, age, gender and prescription drug coverage are all predictors of future high costs, with cost history being the most pred...
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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...
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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?

ABSTRACTThe 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 inf...
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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

 ABSTRACTObjective: 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 instrumen...
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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...
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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

ABSTRACTBackground: 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 implicatio...
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Mar
01

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

ABSTRACTObjectives: 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 fo...
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Mar
01

Obstetrics & Gynecology: Rate of Pelvic Organ Prolapse Surgery Among Privately Insured Women in the United States, 2010-2013

AbstractOBJECTIVE: To analyze utilization of, and payments for, pelvic organ prolapse procedures after the 2011 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) communication regarding transvaginal mesh.METHODS: This is a retrospective cohort study examining private claims from three insurance providers for inpatient and outpatient prolapse procedures from 2010 to 2013 in the Health Care Cost Institute. Pr...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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

ABSTRACTResearch 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 stu...
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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...
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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...
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Sep
01

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

ABSTRACTBackground: 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 dur...
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Sep
01

Psychiatric Services: Telehealth Delivery of Mental Health Services: An Analysis of Private Insurance Claims Data in the United States

ABSTRACT: Objective: This study characterizes telehealth claims for mental health and substance abuse (MH/SA) services by using national private claims data.Methods: Telehealth-related mental health service claims were identified with private claims data from 2009 to 2013. These data—provided by the Health Care Cost Institute—included claims from Aetna, Humana, and UnitedHealth for ...
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May
04

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

ABSTRACTObjectives: 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 med...
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Apr
04

Congressional Budget Office Working Paper Series: An Analysis of Private-Sector Prices for Hospital Admissions

ABSTRACT: Prices for hospital admissions have received considerable attention in recent years, both because they are an important component of health care spending and because they can vary widely. In this paper, we use 2013 claims data from three large insurers to examine the hospital payment rates of those insurers in their commercial plans and their Medicare Advantage plans and compare them wit...
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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...
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Feb
19

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

ABSTRACTObjective: 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 cor...
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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...
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Oct
01

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

ABSTRACTOne 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 and...
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Sep
01

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

ABSTRACTImportance: 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 addr...
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Sep
01

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

ABSTRACTImportance: 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, re...
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Aug
01

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

ABSTRACTThere 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 ad...
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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...
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Feb
01

An Examination of Private Payer Reimbursements to Primary Care Providers for Healthcare Services Using Telehealth, United States 2009-2013

This issue brief, in partnership with the National Academy for State Health Policy,  reports on reimbursement to primary care provides for health care services using telehealth. Key findings include: • Half of telehealth-related state policies were implemented in the last five years.• Although many states permit reimbursements for telehealth services, only seven ...
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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...
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May
01

Health Care Costs from Birth to Death

Health Care Costs from Birth to Death examines health care spending from birth to age 90 for people covered by commercial health insurance and for those covered by Medicare fee-for-service. The research sponsored by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) using data from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) estimates that the average 55-year-old retiree will spend about $226,000 more out of pocket on heal...
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