AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni said in prepared remarks accompanying the study that "the price of healthcare services is the major driver of overall healthcare cost growth. To make healthcare coverage more affordable for consumers and employers, there needs to be a much greater focus on the underlying cost of medical care."
The American Hospital Association, however, in a statement given to HealthLeaders Media, dismissed the study's findings as "simply a rehash designed to divert attention from the harmful consumer impacts of health insurers' own rising premiums."
"Hospitals across America are examining 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. These efforts have led to hospitals to hold costs down, keeping health care spending growth at historically low levels for the third straight year and the rate of growth in hospital cost per service is at a decade-low," the AHA statement read.
"As a study by the American Medical Association 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 healthcare costs, including hospitals. It is not hospital prices that are driving the rise in insurance premiums."
The hospital group pointed to a report last year from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' office of the actuary which found that premium rates for private insurers rose faster than underlying healthcare costs and that for the first time in seven years, growth in total premiums exceeded growth in total benefits.