Remember the last Health Wonk Review? The Disease Management Care Blog recalls being impressed by the description of the "Health Care Cost Institute," a not-for-profit outfit that was established to store de-identified commercial insurance claims data for research purposes. The participating health insurers are Kaiser, Aetna, UnitedHealthcare and Humana. The database covers 33 million individuals less than age 65 years with employer-sponsored insurance. The DMCB suspects its personal Aetna claims information is in there, somewhere.
The DMCB is more impressed, because the HCCI has just released its first report on 2009 and 2010 health care cost trends. It's full of insights.
1) If you've wondered why your 2010 personal health insurance cost so much, it's because per capita spending was $4,255. This suggests insurers are not the only problem.
2) Costs in 2010 increased over baseline by 3.3% and was driven by an increase in unit prices (i.e., charges), not by greater utilization or overall mix of services. This suggests providers are charging more for their services.
3) While costs increased, beneficiaries' out-of-pocket costs grew at a faster rate. In 2009, they paid 15.6% of their bill, while in 2010, they paid 16.2% - an increase of 3.8%. This suggests that insurers are passing a small but painful amount of the additional 2010 provider charges to the consumer.
The DMCB says bravo to the four insurers for making this information available. This and promised future reports should shed light on health care cost trends.
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