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AHA responds to AHIP report

March 22, 2013

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The AHA this week responded to a report by America’s Health Insurance Plans, published in the March issue of the American Journal of Managed Care, which suggests the prices of inpatient hospital care services contribute to rising health care costs. See the report by clicking on: http://tinyurl.com/dxuzexs. AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack called the report a “rehash designed to divert attention from the harmful consumer impacts of health insurers’ own rising premiums.” He cited an American Medical Association study that found anticompetitive market conditions are common across managed care plans. “It’s important to note that growth in insurance costs from 2010 to 2011 was more than double that of the underlying health care costs, including hospitals,” he said. “It is not hospital prices that are driving the rise in insurance premiums.” He observed that the annual report of national health expenditures released in 2012 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ actuary said premium rates for private insurers rose faster than underlying health care costs and that for the first time in seven years growth in total premiums exceeded growth in total benefits. Pollack noted that the rate of growth in hospital cost per service is at a decade-low as hospitals pursue ways “to make care more affordable by better coordinating care, reducing red tape and providing the right care at the right time in the right setting.”