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HCCI Releases 2017 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report. Here are the revealing findings.
Healthcare spending is rising faster than GDP, and this doesn’t seem likely to change unless we have a serious conversation about prices, according to new research findings.
Average annual healthcare spending for individuals with employer-sponsored insurance increased to an all-time high of $5,641 in 2017, despite little change in the utilization of services overall, according to the Health Care Cost Institute’s (HCCI) annual Health Care Cost and Utilization Report. While overall spending growth slowed in 2017 compared to 2016, the report finds that prices continued to drive rising costs.
HCCI analyzed data from about 4 billion claims of more than 40 million individuals. Claims data come from four of the largest U.S. health insurance providers-Aetna, Humana, Kaiser Permanente, and UnitedHealthcare-representing about 26% of the employer-sponsored insured (ESI) population.
The report also found that:
“In this year’s report, we added estimates of the percent of people with insurance who did not use any healthcare services,” says study coauthor John Hargraves, senior researcher at the HCCI. “Over 25% of people with employer-sponsored insurance did not have any healthcare claims in 2017. The share varied widely by age group.”
Among those aged 55 to 64, 15.8% had no claims, compared to 40.4% of individuals between 19 and 25 years old. These statistics reflect claims filed under ESI coverage only.
“If an individual had no services billed under their ESI coverage, they would be classified as a non-utilizer; non-utilizers may have received healthcare that did not result in a submitted claim or was covered by a different insurance plan,” Hargraves says.
HCCI’s report examined four services categories:
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“We were interested to see that the drivers of prescription drug spending appeared to shift in 2017, with increased utilization of prescription drugs driving most of the observed spending growth rather than prices,” Hargraves says. “Average prescription drug prices did increase by 1.4% between 2016 and 2017, but this was much lower than the growth we saw in earlier years. In contrast utilization increased 3.3% in 2017, after little change in previous years.”