What we're reading, December 3, 2015: health spending in the US topped $3 trillion in 2014; experts debate the true impact of proposed health insurer mega-mergers; and a survey finds ICD-10 transition has been mostly without trouble.
US Health Spending Outpaced Economic Growth
After 5 years of slow growth, health spending in the US topped $3 trillion, or $9,500 per person, according to HHS. In 2014, health spending increased 5.3%, growing faster than the economy and accounting for 17.5% of the nation’s economic output, The New York Times reported. In 2013, health spending great at the lowest rate in decades at just 2.9%.
The Impact of Health Insurer Mergers
A panel of experts on the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton/SiriusXM radio channel discussed the proposed healthcare insurance mergers between Aetna and Humana, and Anthem and Cigna. The experts considered the insurers’ claims that the mergers would use economies of scale to improve healthcare quality while lowering costs and the concerns of the American Hospital Association and others that such mergers usually achieve the opposite effect.
ICD-10 Transition Has Been Mostly Smooth
A majority of healthcare organizations have made the transition to ICD-10 smoothly, but after 2 months, 11% still said they are struggling, according to a KPMG LLP survey. The largest challenge with the transition to ICD-10 have included rejected medical claims, clinical documentation and physician education, reduced revenue from coding delays, and information technology fixes.