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Coalition Releases First National Ranking of Costs of Commercial Health Insurance Claims Across Nation

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The Niagara Quality Health Coalition released findings from a study of what it costs commercial health insurers in the nation to pay doctors and hospitals, using data supplied by insurance companies. The study analyzed data for 274 regions across the United States. The coalition said its report is the first publicly-available national ranking that compares the costs of commercial health insurance claims across the nation.  While the study does not compare health insurance premiums paid by businesses or individuals, the coalition said it is likely that insurers charge customers more in regions where the cost of providing medical care is high.  Until now, healthcare policymakers and consumer watchdog groups did not have such detailed information to compare the cost of medical care paid by commercial health insurance companies. Only publicly-funded Medicare payment information was available. The study examined about 109 million claims from health providers across the nation submitted between 2007 and 2009, figures that remain statistically valid, according to the report’s authors. Commercial health insurers revealed their costs in data supplied to the Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, which in turn was analyzed by the Niagara Health Quality Coalition.

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