6 Recent Studies on Healthcare Finances

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Here are six recent studies that covered health insurance premiums, Medicare and other healthcare finance issues in the past month, starting with the most recent.

1. A Kaiser Family Foundation study found annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance increased by 4 percent for family coverage and 5 percent for single coverage, but wages and inflation only increased by 1.8 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

2. Medicare pays physicians three to five times more for procedural care than it pays for cognitive care that may cut costs and improve population health, according to a JAMA Internal Medicine study.

3. A study from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Pacific Business Group on Health found that healthcare price transparency can be achieved in states by prohibiting contractual gag clauses on insurers, creating all-payer claims databases, requiring plans participating in state insurance exchanges to submit claims data and cost calculators, and prohibiting any anti-competitive practices.

4. Gerald Friedman, PhD, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, found that expanding Medicare to every American citizen would not only achieve universal coverage and trillions in savings, but it's also feasible to implement based on legislation that has already been proposed.

5. The Institute of Medicine said Medicare payments should not be based on a geographic-based index, and instead, CMS should continue down the path of paying hospitals and providers for sharing clinical data, coordinating patient care and taking on financial risk for the health of their populations.

6. Employer healthcare costs increased by an average of 4.3 percent per year from 2006 to 2011 and were mainly driven by outpatient medical services, according to a study from Truven Health Analytics.

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