Tag Archives: Healthcare

S&P: Healthcare expenditures for commercial plans up 3.2% in the year to August 2013

Data released┬átoday for the S&P Healthcare Claims Indices showed that total medical costs rose 3.2% in the 12 months ended August 2013 compared to the 4.8% rise for the 12 months ended August 2012. Medical costs—inpatient and outpatient hospitalization plus professional services—rose 3.7% and prescription drugs rose 0.9% over the same period. All rose less than a year earlier.

Among the key components of medical costs, inpatient fee-for-service costs rose 4.2% compared to 4.4% in the earlier period while outpatient fee-for-service costs rose 5.7% compared to 7.9% in the earlier period. Prescription drugs expenditures were up 0.9% versus 2.9% in the 12 months ended August 2012. These figures, which represent the most current data available, are based on expenditures incurred in the 12 months ended August 2013. Because of standard industry lags in invoicing claims and resolving disputed charges, it is not possible for the indices to be calculated without a lag.

“The S&P Healthcare Claim Indices show healthcare expenditures rose less in the most recent period. This confirms other reports that the supposedly inexorable rise in healthcare costs is moderating,” says David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “While the slower cost increases are most welcome, there is debate over the cause. For some categories there is sufficient detail to examine price and usage separately. For instance, in inpatient fee-for-service, one area showing relatively stable cost increases, the indices show that declining usage is contributing to the slowdown while unit costs rise at about 6% annually.

“One often cited source of moderation is the growth of generic pharmaceuticals, which compete with their branded counterparts on price. Among branded prescription drugs, prices continue to climb at more than 15% annually. Apparently the purveyors of branded pharmaceuticals chose to respond to price competition by increasing prices to offset declining usage. Compared to the branded, where usage is dropping by 15% annually, generics see consistent increases.

“It is too soon to credit the slower cost increases to Obamacare, going forward the indices will show whether the slowing of cost growth continues.”

Comparing episode of cancer care costs in different settings: An actuarial analysis of patients receiving chemotherapy

Cancer patients receiving active treatment with chemotherapy incur four times the costs of cancer patients not receiving chemotherapy. The cost of patients receiving chemotherapy has been reported to vary by site of service, with higher costs when treatment is delivered in a hospital outpatient setting (HOP) versus a physician office visit (POV). Recent reports indicate an increasing portion of chemotherapy is being delivered in HOP settings and less in POV settings, which can increase costs for payors and/or employers.

This study provides new information by examining Truven MarketScan® commercial claims data (index years 2009 and 2010) to calculate the episode cost of chemotherapy delivered in the HOP versus POV settings for specific disease states. HOP costs were 28% to 53% higher than the POV costs depending on the cancer and adjuvant or metastatic stage. In particular, we noted significantly higher per-episode cost for chemotherapy drugs, radiation oncology, imaging (CT, MRI, and PET scans) and laboratory services in the HOP setting.

This report was commissioned by Genentech.

S&P: Healthcare costs rise 3.5% in the year through May 2013

Data released today for the S&P Healthcare Claims Indices show that for the 12-month period through May 2013, medical and prescription drug costs together rose 3.5% as drug costs rose 0.6% and medical costs rose 4.2%. These figures, which represent the most current data available in the healthcare industry, compare the average level of the cost indices in the 12 months ended May 2013 with the average level for the 12 months ended May 2012, the normal industry calculation of trends.

“The S&P Healthcare Claims Indices are based on data on actual expenditures for hospitalization, outpatient services and prescription drugs for Americans covered by commercial health insurance plans,” says David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “These data provide a benchmark for evaluating various healthcare plans including the Affordable Care Act. The Indices are a relevant and transparent benchmark for measuring U.S. healthcare costs providing health insurers, consumers, employers, healthcare provider systems, and other users with the most current data available on the current rising cost of U.S. healthcare.”

“The data released today for the S&P Healthcare Claims Indices confirm that while the rate of increase of medical care expenditures in the U.S. is slowing, it is still rising faster than disposable personal income. Where possible, healthcare expenditures do respond to economic incentives. Comparing branded and generic pharmaceuticals, unit costs—expenditures divided by days of prescription supplied—rose 16.1% for branded versus 3.0% for generic. Utilization of generics rose 9.7% while utilization of branded fell 16.8% in the 12 months ended May 2013.”

Trends for total medical cost, medical cost excluding pharmaceuticals, and pharmaceuticals declined over the period. Two factors that may have contributed to these developments were shifts from inpatient to outpatient treatments as shown by the larger growth in outpatient expenditures. Second, as shown by the data on prescription drugs, there are cost-driven shifts from branded to generic pharmaceuticals.

S&P: Annual growth rates remain stable in July

Data released today by S&P Dow Jones Indices for the S&P Healthcare Economic Composite Index indicates that the average per capita cost of healthcare services covered by commercial insurance and Medicare programs increased by 3.06% over the 12 months ending July 2013, remaining flat at the level recorded in June.

Four of the nine S&P Healthcare Economic Indices showed the same annual growth rates for July 2013 as for June 2013. They were the Composite Index, the Medicare Index, the Commercial Index, and the Hospital Medicare Index. As measured by the S&P Healthcare Economic Commercial Index, healthcare costs covered by commercial insurance plans rose by 4.15% in July. Annual growth rates in Medicare costs increased by 1.40% in July, according to the S&P Healthcare Economic Medicare Index. The Hospital Medicare Index’s growth rate recorded 2.29% in July. These indices’ growth rates remain flat from June to July.

SPHealthcare_July_2013_Chart

The Hospital Index’s growth rate posted 2.30% in July, up from 2.10% reported in June. The Hospital Commercial annual growth rate was 2.30% in July, up from 1.94% recorded in June.

The Professional Services Index annual growth rate hit a recent low of 3.70% in July; it was down from 3.93% posted in June. The Professional Services Commercial Index decelerated to 5.77% in July, down from 6.10% reported the previous month. The Professional Services Medicare annual growth rate hit a new low of -0.26% in July, down from -0.23% recorded in June. This is the only index of the nine headline indices that remains in the negative territory.

“Since last summer we saw healthcare cost growth rates dropping and now they are stabilized near recent levels for most of the indices. The indices’ growth rates are among the lowest since the indices’ start date in 2005. Four of the nine headline indices’ annual rates remained flat between June and July,” says David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The annual growth rate for the S&P Healthcare Composite Index was 3.06%, the annual growth rate for the Commercial Index was 4.15%, and for the Medicare Index was 1.40%.

“The Hospital Index posted a 2.30% annual growth rate in July; it accelerated by 20 basis points since June. The Hospital Medicare Index remained flat at 2.29% since June. The Hospital Commercial Index posted a 2.30% annual rate, accelerating by 36 basis points. It has the highest acceleration among the healthcare indices covered.

“The Professional Services Index annual growth rate hit a recent low of 3.70% in July, 23 basis points down from the month before. The Professional Services Medicare Index growth rate hit a new low of -0.26% in July, three basis point down from June. It has the lowest annual growth rate among our healthcare indices and remains the only negative one. The Professional Services Commercial Index posted a 5.77% rate in July, 33 basis points down from its June value. It remained the highest among the healthcare indices we cover.”

S&P: Annual growth rates increase moderately in June

Data released today by S&P Dow Jones Indices for the S&P Healthcare Economic Composite Index indicates that the average per capita cost of healthcare services covered by commercial insurance and Medicare programs increased by 3.00% over the 12 months ending June 2013, accelerating from the 2.96% annual growth rate recorded in May.

Eight of the nine S&P Healthcare Economic Indices showed higher annual growth rates for June 2013 compared to May 2013. As measured by the S&P Healthcare Economic Commercial Index, healthcare costs covered by commercial insurance plans rose by 4.14% in June, up from 4.09% reported in May. Annual growth rates in Medicare costs increased by 1.27% in June, according to the S&P Healthcare Economic Medicare Index, up from a 1.22% rate recorded the previous month.

The Hospital Index’s growth rate posted 2.05% in June, up from 1.97% reported in May. The Hospital Medicare Index recorded a 2.17% annual rate in June, up from 2.09%. The Hospital Commercial annual growth rate posted 1.95% in June, up from 1.85%.

The Professional Services Index annual growth rate was 3.86% in June, marginally up from the 3.85% May value. The Professional Services Commercial Index accelerated to 6.08% in June, up from 6.06%. The Professional Services Medicare annual growth rate hit a new low of -0.39% in June, down from -0.38% recorded in May.

“Following a period when healthcare cost growth rates were dropping, we’re now seeing increases in most of the indices. Even after this month’s figures, the indices growth rates are among the lowest since the indices’ start dates in 2005. Eight of the nine headline indices’ annual rates moderately accelerated in June,” says David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The annual growth rate for the S&P Healthcare Composite Index was 3.00%, the annual growth rate for the Commercial Index was 4.14%, and for the Medicare Index was 1.27%.

“After 13 months of deceleration, the Hospital Commercial Index accelerated by ten basis points in the annual growth rate. It has the highest acceleration among the healthcare indices covered.

“The Professional Services Medicare Index annual growth rate hit a new low of -0.39% in June, one basis point down from last month. It has the lowest annual growth rate among our healthcare indices and remains the only negative one. The Professional Services Commercial Index posted a 6.08% rate in June, two basis points up from its May rate. It remained the highest among the healthcare indices we cover.”

S&P: Annual growth rates decelerated in May

Data released today by S&P Dow Jones Indices for the S&P Healthcare Economic Composite Index indicates that the average per capita cost of healthcare services covered by commercial insurance and Medicare programs increased by 2.96% over the 12 months ending May 2013, decelerating from the +3.19% annual growth rate recorded in April.

All nine S&P Healthcare Economic Indices showed lower annual growth rates for May 2013 compared to April 2013. As measured by the S&P Healthcare Economic Commercial Index, healthcare costs covered by commercial insurance plans rose by 4.34% in May, down from +4.59% reported in April. Annual growth rates in Medicare costs increased by 0.85% in May, according to the S&P Healthcare Economic Medicare Index, down from a +1.07% rate recorded last month.

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