Confronting the High Cost of Hospital Prices

confronting high cost of hospital prices

The annual cost of hospital inpatient services for privately insured individuals surpassed $200 billion in 2018 and is projected to exceed $350 billion in 2029. Price increases are the key driver of hospital inpatient spending growth, and prices charged by hospital facilities (hospital prices) are increasing faster than prices charged by physicians practicing within these hospitals (physician prices).

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The High Cost of Avoidable Hospital Emergency Department Visits

high cost emergency department visits

Health care spending in the United States is expected to grow from $3.5 trillion in 2017 to $6 trillion by 2027. What’s driving the dramatic increase in spending? Price variation, which leads to overspending by many consumers.

However, UnitedHealth Group has conducted extensive research on the cost of care and has identified three areas where savings are achievable: avoidable hospital emergency department visits, hospital prices and high-value physicians.

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Optum Launches Comprehensive Relationship with John Muir Health to Advance Quality Care for Bay Area Patients

Optum and John Muir Health today announced a comprehensive relationship aimed at delivering high-quality, convenient and affordable health care to patients in California's Bay Area. Optum will manage John Muir Health's key nonclinical functions, including information technology and analytics, to help John Muir Health focus on improving care and experiences for patients.

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United Health Foundation Partners with Helen Ross McNabb Center and The University of Tennessee Medical Center to Fight Opioid Abuse in Tennessee

Bill Lee Heather Cianfrocco

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan CEO Heather Cianfrocco discuss United Health Foundation's new partnership with the Helen Ross McNabb Center to fight substance abuse in East Tennessee.

The United Health Foundation has made a three-year, $1.05 million grant to Helen Ross McNabb Center and The University of Tennessee Medical Center to create a partnership to expand access to fight opioid abuse across East Tennessee. The goal of the partnership is to engage patients entering the emergency department and increase access to providers and behavioral health services.

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Building a Foundation for Workforce Diversity in Health Informatics

Alex Jones, senior at Bennett College

Alexis Jones, a rising senior at Bennett College – a historically black women's college in Greensboro, N.C. – was one of nine students to participate in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Health Informatics Data Analytics and Visualization summer boot camp program, funded by UnitedHealth Group. (Photo courtesy of the UNC School of Information and Library Science)

The University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill's Health Informatics Data Analytics and Visualization (HiDAV) summer boot camp program focuses on exposing underrepresented minority students to health informatics principles. HiDAV is part of UNC-Chapel Hill's Project ENABLE (Extensible Network-Accessible Biomedical & Health Informatics Lifelong Learning Environment), created in 2018 with the help of a three-year, $1.6 million grant from the United Health Foundation to support growth of the 21st century health workforce.

Nine students recently completed participation in the HiDAV boot camp program for 2019, its second year.

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Partnership with Atlanta Universities Aims to Educate and Train Minority Data Scientists

Dave Wichmann, CEO, UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group is partnering with the Atlanta University Center to help meet the need for data scientists. "Technology in general, and data science in particular, are critical to better meeting the needs of our customers," said Dave Wichmann, CEO, UnitedHealth Group. "We are excited to support this initiative because it aligns well with our desire to ensure our workforce for the future is both diverse and possesses the skills needed to propel our company for continued success."

In response to the growing need for data scientists and employees with data analytics skills, UnitedHealth Group has created an $8.2 million partnership with the Atlanta University Center Consortium to develop a pipeline for minority students. The five-year investment by UnitedHealth Group is part of an ambitious collaboration with the AUCC membership – Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine and Spelman College.

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UnitedHealth Group Named One of America's 50 Most Community-Minded Companies for Eighth Straight Year

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UnitedHealth Group was recognized by The Civic 50 as one of the most community-minded companies in the United States for the eighth consecutive year. Civic 50 honorees are public and private companies with U.S. operations that are selected based on four criteria: investment, integration, institutionalization and impact.

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Diverse Scholars Initiative Forum Empowers Students to Make a Difference in Health Care

diverse scholars forum

100 students from across the nation gathered at the United Health Foundation's Diverse Scholars Initiative Forum in Washington, D.C., to discuss the importance of culturally competent health care and how they can make a difference in the patient experience.

With goals of improving health care delivery, particularly for underserved communities, participants in the United Health Foundation Diverse Scholars Initiative traveled to Washington, D.C., for the annual Diverse Scholars Initiative Forum. Nearly 100 students from across the nation gathered to discuss the importance of culturally competent health care and how they can make a difference in the patient experience.

Since 2007, the Diverse Scholars Initiative has provided more than $20 million to fund nearly 2,600 scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing careers as primary care health professionals – particularly in underserved communities.

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UnitedHealth Group Brief Examines Price Variation in Health Care

savings opportunities

A new research brief from UnitedHealth Group examines price variation in health care and calculates the savings potential between what is currently paid and what could be paid if certain high-priced services were each re-priced to a lower level already available for that same service.

The details: The brief illustrates the issue of price variation by addressing seven types of common diagnostic tests. The data show that if the price variation of these diagnostic tests was reduced, consumers would have saved $18.5 billion in 2017.

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UnitedHealth Group Brief Reveals Key Drivers of Health Care Premium Increases

home-based care for seniors

Prescription drugs, outpatient services, and taxes on health insurance are key drivers of premium increases, according to a recently released UnitedHealth Group brief.

The details:

Over 80 cents of each premium dollar is spent on medical benefits for members and their families.

Prescription drugs and outpatient services are the main drivers of medical spending, which averaged 5.5% annual growth from 2013 to 2018.

  • 8% annual growth in outpatient services
  • 7% annual growth in prescription drugs

High and increasing taxes, including the ACA Health Insurance Tax, are driving up the cost of premiums.

  • 5.9 cents of each premium dollar goes to pay for federal, state, and local taxes on health insurance.
  • Taxes on health insurance increased nearly 20% from 2017 to 2018 due to the reinstatement of the ACA Health Insurance Tax.

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