New Healthcare Cost Institute to Offer Access to U.S. Payor Data

Monday, September 26th, 2011
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

A new healthcare cost initiative will give researchers and policymakers access to de-identified data from plans operated by Aetna, Humana, Kaiser Permanente and United Healthcare, as well as some government data from Medicare Fee-for-Service and Medicare Advantage activity. The Health Care Cost Initiative (HCCI) is designed to offer new insights into healthcare costs, utilization, and intensity. It’s a timely move, given research that predicts U.S. health spending could rise from an estimated $2.5 trillion to $4.6 trillion by the end of the decade.

CMS will create a new database too — a system of records containing the health information of Medicare beneficiaries who receive treatment with providers participating in an ACO. The database will also contain personally identifiable information (PII) about certain individuals participating in the ACOs, including healthcare sole proprietors, providers, key leaders and managers of ACOs and contact persons. It will be used to support policy activities and reimbursement for its programs to bundle payments and share savings, say CMS officials.

More savings could be achieved by enrolling dual eligibles into managed care plans, says a new study by Kenneth Thorpe of Emory University. The study predicts savings of up to $125 billion for the federal government and $34 billion for states over ten years. Dual eligibles account for more than one-third of Medicare and Medicaid spending, even though they make up only a small percentage of the total enrollment in these programs. Research further shows that federal spending on dual eligibles will total nearly $3.7 trillion over the next decade.

And B4 we go, do u text? If so, you’re not alone : ) Approximately 2.2 trillion text messages were sent in the United States in 2011, and while teenagers were particularly dexterous, 80 percent of low-income households on Medicaid reported texting regularly. Research suggests that the use of mobile phone text messaging can be effective in improving health behaviors and health outcomes. The HHS is proposing seven new recommendations to support health text messaging and mobile health (mHealth) technologies.

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