HCCI Releases Latest 'Health Care Cost & Utilization Report'

The 2012 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report is the third report of the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI). The report, just released in September 2013, summarizes national health care spending trends among individuals younger than age 65 who were covered by employer-sponsored health insurance. This  report tracks spending from 2009 to 2012 and highlights the slowdown of health care costs in the U.S. observed over the past several years.

For two years, HCCI has been tracking the ongoing slowdown in health care expenditure growth. According to David Newman, the Executive Director of HCCI, in 2012 per capita spending on healthcare remained historically low with little change in the growth rate of health care expenditures from the prior year.

The report sheds light on the various factors influencing this slow-down, that includes (1) an ongoing shift away from hospital care and an increasing reliance on outpatient services, as well as (2) the move away from brand name drugs to generic ones.

As a non-profit, HCCI has a multifaceted public mission. In addition to issuing annual reports on health care trends, HCCI also leverages its unique and large repository of claims data to produce issue briefs throughout the year on key subjects such as mental health, prescription drugs, and children's health.

HCCI has recently begun to license its data to independent academic researchers at institutions like Yale University, Northwestern University, and the University of Minnesota. Reports and studies from these research teams should start to emerge in 2014. The plan is to  accelerate their data licensing activities over the next twelve months to spur additional independent research based on HCCI data.

Some of the highlights from this latest report on Health Care Costs and Utilizations include:

• As in past years, price increases rather than use of services remained the primary cause of spending growth for outpatient and inpatient facility claims. Prices rose 5.4 percent for inpatient services, and 5.6 percent for outpatient services.
• Out-of-pocket spending for consumers continued to rise, and grew faster than health care payer expenditures. In 2012, consumers shouldered 16.3 percent of all health care costs, spending an average of $768 per person on copays, coinsurance and deductibles —$35 more than in 2011.
• Per capita spending in 2012 averaged $5,246 for women compared to $4,125 for men. Although women typically spend more than men on health care, the gap appears to be widening. Spending for women grew at a faster rate (4.2%) than spending for men (3.7%) in 2012.
• Health care spending rose faster (5.4%) for young adults (19-25) than any other age group. In contrast, the oldest adults (55-64) experienced the slowest health care spending growth— 2.5 percent.
• Young adults continued to have some of the lowest expenditures ($2,548 per person) while the oldest adults had the highest ($8,920 per person).
• Spending on inpatient hospital care increased 2.4 percent, slower than all other service categories. Hospital admissions declined (-2.9%), while prices for inpatient services increased 5.4 percent, averaging $16,421.
• Per capita spending on health care was highest in the Northeast ($4,868) and lowest in the West ($4,382). Consumers in the Midwest and the South spent the highest amounts of their own dollars on health care.

Go to the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) web site and download your copy of the full 'open access' report at http://www.healthcostinstitute.org/2012report . the content of this report is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives 3.0 License.


Interest findings on U.S.

Interest findings on U.S. healthcare costs. The trend away from inpatient care continues. What will be the impact on the bottom line of hospitals if this continues, even as many hospitals also bear the brunt of acquiring and implementing costly electronic health record (EHR) systems? More closures, consolidation... Kudos to HCCI for providing 'open access' to this report and sharing the data with other research institutions.