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Claims Database Offers Glimpse Of National Health Care Trends


  04:06:43 pm, by MedBen5   , 212 words,  
Categories: News, Health Plan Management

Claims Database Offers Glimpse Of National Health Care Trends

Average Share of Health Care Costs, 2010

The non-profit, non-partisan Health Care Cost Institute has compiled a database culled from over 3 billion medical claims, The Washington Post recently reported. The deidentified information from several large insurance companies provides a useful means of researching health care trends for Americans under 65 in employer-sponsored insurance plans.

A report distributed by the institute shows, among other trends, that people in group health plans are using less health care overall. Admissions to hospitals and other medical facilities dropped 3.3% from 2009 to 2010, as did outpatient visits to such facilities (3.1%). Procedures performed at medical facilities and use of prescription drugs both did go up slightly, however.

But what accounts for this trend? Certainly, the continued recession plays a role. But the report also cites the rising prices patients must pay for care – in part because of insureds paying a larger portion of their health plan (though the shift was modest, from 15.6% in 2009 to 16.2% in 2010), but mainly due to price increases by hospitals, doctors and other providers.

The chart displayed here shows the average plan member’s share for total health care spending in 2010, based on the claims data gathered by the institute. By way of comparison, MedBen’s own data for that year revealed that the average member responsibility for total health care spending was significantly lower, at 11%.

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