Health Insurance Costs Rise, Driven By Higher Hospital, Doctor Prices


Topics: Health Costs, Insurance, Marketplace, Hospitals

Sep 25, 2012

According to a report by the Health Care Cost Institute, insurance spending jumped in 2011 – a departure from the two previous years.

The Washington Post: Health Insurance Costs Accelerate
U.S. spending on health insurance grew at an accelerated rate in 2011, breaking a two-year trend of smaller cost increases. The culprit, a new study suggests, is not Americans seeking more treatment but rather rapid growth in the price of medical care. Spending for private health insurance surged by 4.6 percent in 2011, according to a report from the Health Care Cost Institute. That growth rate is faster than the rest of the economy and higher than the previous year, which had 3.8 percent growth (Kliff, 9/25).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Higher Prices By Providers Drove 2011 Increases, Study Finds
Spending on medical care for Americans with job-based insurance rose 4.6 percent last year, driven mainly by higher prices charged by hospitals and other medical providers, a report out today says. The growth came despite a sluggish economy which some economists thought would translate into more modest spending growth. Still, last year’s per enrollee increase ranks below the 5.8 percent increase in 2009 (Appleby, 9/24).

Modern Healthcare: Healthcare Spending Picked Up In 2011: Report
The Health Care Cost Institute, an insurer-funded not-for-profit research group based in Washington, found per capita healthcare spending on those under age 65 with employer-backed insurance rose 4.6% to $4,547 in 2011. The increase in 2011 follows a rise of 3.8% in 2010 and 5.8% in 2009, based on an analysis of claims data from Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealthcare (Barr, 9/25).

Also in the news –

PBS NewsHour (Video): A PBS Documentary Asks Why Is U.S. Health Care So Expensive?
“Money and Medicine,” a documentary set to air Sept. 25 on PBS, investigates some of the most notorious factors in driving U.S. health care costs. Ray Suarez speaks with director Roger Weisberg about how some of those costs are moving the nation toward financial crisis while still producing relatively mediocre medical results (9/24).

In other marketplace developments –

The Wall Street Journal: Workers Eye ‘Consumer-Directed’ Plans In Bid To Cut Health Costs
It soon will be time for the autumn ritual of open enrollment, as people who get insurance through their employers sign up for next year’s coverage. But this season, which kicks off next week, also will mark a seminal shift—with more workers than ever weighing whether a “consumer-directed” health plan might pay off for them (Marte, 9/24).

Kaiser Health News: Health Plan Open Season Brings Rising Premiums And More Expensive Dependent Coverage
Comparing plans may be easier, though, thanks to new coverage summaries that group health plans and insurers must provide. As employees review their plan options and benefit changes for next year, here are a few changes they can expect (Andrew, 9/24).

This is part of Kaiser Health News’ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

English: U.S. Health Insurance Status (Under 65)

English: U.S. Health Insurance Status (Under 65) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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