Study: Outpatient Services Main Driver of Employer Health Spending

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

Analysts examined claims data for more than 8 million people, including both employees who were enrolled in fee-for-service plans and their dependents. They found that average employer healthcare spending per member per year increased from $3,739 in 2006 to $4,625 in 2011. Spending on outpatient services grew 6.5 percent annually, while pharmacy spending had an annual growth rate of 2.1 percent, according to the study.

Spending growth was driven largely by 20 specific medical episode groups, with the top five being preventive health services, osteoarthritis (except spine), childbirth (Cesarean section), multiple sclerosis and surgical and medical care complications, according to the study.

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Growth in Healthcare Prices, Costs, Jobs at a Crawl 

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