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A Definitive Study and Reference Resource on Healthcare Cost and Utilization

By Clive Riddle, October 30, 2015

The Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) has just released its free 26-page 2014 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report, and 92-page Appendix, which provide a definitive examination of detailed U.S. health care cost and utilization component line items and demographics. Their study – as with other major cost studies released this year – put a lot of focus on increases in prescription drug prices.

They found the costs increased 3.4 percent in 2014, with overall utilization decreasing somewhat, while prices for all categories of services rose.  Average spending per person was $4,967, up $163, including out-of-pocket spending of $810 that grew 2.2%.

With prescription costs standing out, they note that “despite a nearly 16 percent decrease in use of brand prescriptions, spending on these prescriptions jumped by $45 per capita in 2014—an increase four times larger than in 2013. Much of this increase was due to use of high-priced Hepatitis C drugs Olysio, Sovaldi, and Harvoni, which became available starting in late 2013.”

Here’s some other key findings:

  • “In 2014, the largest decline in use (-2.7%) was for acute admissions, which fell by 1 admission per 1,000 individuals. The smallest decline in use (-0.9%) was for outpatient visits, which fell by 3 visits per 1,000 individuals.”
  • “The smallest average price increase was for professional services (3.1%), an increase of $3 per service. The largest average price increase was for acute inpatient admissions (4.6%), an increase of $831 per admission.”
  • “Spending out of pocket on acute inpatient admissions (–$1) and on brand (–$9) and generic (–$4) prescriptions decreased by $14 per capita in 2014 compared to the previous year, while spending out of pocket on outpatient ($16) and professional ($15) services increased by a total of $31 per capita in 2014.”
  • “Every year between 2010 and 2014, out-of-pocket spending was higher by women than by men. This difference grew every year, reaching $237 in 2014.”
  • “The difference in spending between the oldest and youngest age groups studied increased every year studied: from $6,281 in 2010 to $6,806 in 2014. In 2014, spending was $2,660 for children ages 0-18 and $9,466 for pre-Medicare adults, ages 55-64.”

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