Massachusetts hospital margins over the last 3 years

A Massachusetts Center for Health Information and Analysis 2024 annual report revealed that state acute care hospitals have seen margin fluctuation over the last three years. The hospital margins went from 5% in 2021 down to -4.2% in 2022 and back up to 1.6% in the first six months of 2023.

The report takes a look at cost, coverage, quality and utilization indicator trends through 2022. It also examines payer and provider financial and quality performance; hospital utilization; and behavioral health, COVID-19 and telehealth spending trends.

Here are seven other findings from the report:

1. Massachusetts total healthcare expenditures were $71.7 billion in 2022. Expenditures per capita increased 5.8% from 2021 to 2022 to $10,264 per person. 

2. More than 4 in 10 Massachusetts residents, or 41%, experienced healthcare affordability issues over a 12-month period in 2021.

3. Member cost-sharing, claims and premiums covered by employers and payers saw a faster increase than wages, salaries and regional inflation from 2020 to 2022.

4. While acute hospital inpatient, emergency department and outpatient observation visits declined year over year, acute hospital average length of stay has increased steadily. 

5. Behavioral health spending made up 16.2% of expenditures for MassHealth, the state's Medicaid program; 7.4% for private commercial health; and 3.1% for Medicare Advantage in 2022. The majority of behavioral health spending was on mental health services. 

6. High-deductible health plan members grew to 42.4% in 2022 for commercial enrollment. 

7. The largest contributors to total healthcare expenditure increases were pharmacy and non-claims payments in 2022, with an increase in non-claims driven by "$621.5 million in new COVID-related supplemental payments that MassHealth made to support the financial stability of eligible providers pursuant to state and federal legislation," the report said. 

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