Trends in inpatient hospital prices, 2008 to 2010

Am J Manag Care. 2013 Mar 1;19(3):e106-13.


Objectives: Our goal was to present detailed descriptive data on transaction prices paid by commercial insurers and their enrollees for inpatient hospital care.

Data and methods: To estimate transaction prices for inpatient hospital stays (hospital cost only), we used the MarketScan data set of commercial claims and administrative records for 45 to 50 million covered enrollees under age 65 years with commercial group health insurance. Prices are defined as average allowed charges, including insurer-paid reimbursements plus patient costsharing obligations, and are shown for 350 specific admission categories and for many states and localities. Intensity adjustments to account for increased complexity or resource use in hospital stays were estimated from changes in the numbers of procedures per admission, the complexity of admission codes, and patients' risk scores.

Results: Unadjusted inpatient hospital prices per admission grew by 8.2% per year from 2008 to 2010 for the commercially insured population (under age 65 years) in the MarketScan data set. We estimate that approximately 1.3 to 1.9 percentage points of the growth in prices can be attributed to increased intensity per admission. Thus, we estimate that intensity-adjusted price increases ranged from 6.2% to 6.8% annually in the 2008-2010 period. Price levels and trends varied considerably across admission types, states, and localities.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diagnosis-Related Groups / economics
  • Diagnosis-Related Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospital Charges / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospital Charges / trends
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / statistics & numerical data
  • Insurance, Health / economics
  • Insurance, Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • United States