Revealed: What's Really Driving Up Healthcare Costs

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , July 25, 2012

Across all age groups the findings include:

  • Primary care visits, immunizations, and preventive medicines account for the biggest share (40.3%) of children's healthcare spending
  • Outpatient services account for 24% of spending
  • Inpatient admissions account for 22% of spending
  • Prescriptions drugs account for 14%

The study findings have serious ramifications for healthcare costs, explains David Newman, executive director for HCCI. "Think about these kids aging over time. If at each age they are more expensive than at an earlier cohort then it's going to be very difficult to bend that long-term healthcare cost curve."

Simply put: Spending could continue to climb.

"What happens when these kids become adults and enter the work force," asks Carolina Herrera, HCCI's director of research, "and they are still using a high level mental health services and expensive prescription drugs? What does that mean for employer healthcare costs?"

Those are excellent questions. In this age of the triple aim (better care, better health, and lower cost) insurers, providers, and parents need to know that these increased expenditures for childhood healthcare are yielding meaningful outcomes.

HCCI plans to continue looking into this issue to add to the understanding of what is driving the price increases. With three billion pieces of data at their finger tips, researchers may be able to make discoveries that will affect healthcare costs for generations to come.

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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