Costs drove health bills up, state says

June 15, 2011

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A new report on health care costs shows that spending on medical care for privately insured Massachusetts residents climbed 6 percent from 2007 to 2008 and another 10 percent from 2008 to 2009. That far outpaced national growth rate, which was 4.9 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively, in those years. Rising provider prices for inpatient and outpatient hospital care and for physicians’ services played a significant role in the cost rise, a much bigger role than increased use of services in Massachusetts, according to the report by the state Division of Health Care Finance and Policy. Higher prices, for example, accounted for nearly all the increase in inpatient hospital spending from 2007 to 2009. And for all types of imaging, higher payments for scans and other tests, not greater use of those services, drove much or all of the growth in spending.