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Mercer

As if we didn’t have enough evidence that health benefit cost is driven by more than plan design (yes, I’m thinking of the excise tax on high-cost plans), the Health Care Cost Institute just released the Healthy Marketplace Index Report, which shows the economic performance of more than 40 health care markets across the country. It includes measures of price, productivity (based on population health and utilization of services), and competition. The US map showing pockets of high cost and high utilization will raise many eyebrows. You’d expect to see high costs in New York City, but in Boulder, Colorado? Also of interest is the finding that price and utilization are not related – meaning, high price is not a barrier to utilization. The dataset for the HMI includes HCCI’s administrative claims data from 2011 to 2013 for over 40 million Americans per year with employer-sponsored insurance, which accounts for more than 25 percent of the nation’s privately insured population.

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