Claims Database Aims To Provide Insights on Medical Care Costs

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The Health Care Cost Institute is compiling a database of billions of medical claims to help researchers analyze health care costs, the Washington Post reports.

Previously, researchers seeking to conduct large-scale analyses of medical costs would need to extrapolate data from smaller surveys of employers or analyze Medicare claims statistics, which generally cover only U.S. residents age 65 and older.

About the Database

HCCI's database will allow researchers to analyze more than 3 billion de-identified medical claims from more than 33 million individuals.

Three of the nation's largest health insurers -- Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealthcare -- have contributed information to the project. The three insurers' combined membership accounts for more than 20% of U.S. residents under age 65 who have employer-sponsored coverage.

Report Shows Initial Findings From Database

On Monday, HCCI released a report showing some initial findings from analyzing the database (Aizenman, Washington Post, 5/21). The report found that health care spending by privately insured U.S. residents rose between 2009 and 2010, primarily because the prices of services increased (Feder, Politico, 5/21).

David Newman, HCCI's executive director, said he expects numerous researchers to use the database to answer future questions about health care costs.

Newman noted that the database contains 2 billion additional claims that have yet to be analyzed and that Kaiser Permanente is expected to contribute claims data to the project (Washington Post, 5/21).


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