The Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) — a health cost think tank created by health insurers — has created a keepsake from the days before the major Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) commercial health insurance provisions took effect.
Some PPACA insurance provisions, including a provision requiring insurers to cover a basic package of preventive services without imposing out-of-pocket costs on the insureds, were already in effect. But the most sweeping changes — a ban on use of personal health information in decisions about whether to offer coverage, a ban on use of personal health information other than age and tobacco use in decisions about pricing coverage, and the new public exchange health insurance system — took effect Jan. 1, 2014.
The HCCI report shows what U.S. health care costs looked like as what today’s agents and brokers think of as the traditional health insurance world ended and a new world came to life.
Here are three visualizations based on the data in that report.
1. Actual changes in spending were not that bad.
Because of some combination of a soft economy, PPACA cost control provisions, cost-conscious purchasing decisions and free-market competition, employer spending on health premiums increased just 3.9 percent, and consumers’ spending on medical services increased just 3.9 percent.
In spite of all of the commotion about employers passing more out-of-pocket costs on to health plan enrollees, the enrollees’ insurance-related out-of-pocket costs held steady as a share of overall health spending.