Health Care Costs

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Controlling spending while improving health care access, efficiency, and outcomes is a significant challenge—one that often dominates policy discussions. To help inform decisionmaking, RAND conducts studies that consider all aspects of health care costs, including medical costs, insurance coverage, reimbursement models, and consumer health care expenses.

Explore Health Care Costs

  • Young children play Twister in the classroom

    Journal Article

    Two Strategies Make the Grade in Helping Kids Get Healthier

    Schools use a number of strategies to increase students' physical activity—before- and after-school programs, extended PE classes, and short activity breaks—but does their impact outweigh their costs? Two strategies proved superior in terms of reach and cost per student.

    Dec 19, 2014

  • Capsules and pills packed on white background

    Project

    Estimating the Economic Costs of Antimicrobial Resistance

    The costs of failing to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) include a world population by 2050 that will be between 11 million and 444 million lower than it would otherwise be in the absence of AMR, and world GDP losses between $2.1 and $124.5 trillion.

    Dec 11, 2014

  • Two doctors looking at a patient's electronic medical records

    Journal Article

    Health Information Exchanges Show Promise, but More Work Is Needed to Realize Greater Benefits

    Health information exchanges show some evidence of reducing emergency department costs and usage, but since only a few have been evaluated, there is not enough evidence to say whether or not they are on track as a potential solution to the problem of fragmented health care delivery in the U.S.

    Dec 3, 2014

  • News Release

    News Release

    Health Information Exchanges Show Promise, but More Work Is Needed to Realize Greater Benefits

    Health information exchanges show some evidence of reducing emergency department costs and usage, but since only a few have been evaluated, there is not enough evidence to say whether or not they are on track as a potential solution to the problem of fragmented health care delivery in the U.S.

    Dec 1, 2014

  • pills and coins

    Report

    International variation in drug usage: An exploratory analysis of the "causes" of variation

    The report explores possible causes that might explain observed international variations in the usage of medicines for 5 disease areas in 13 high-income countries, assessing evidence for dementia, osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes and hepatitis C.

    Nov 27, 2014

  • A doctor with a patient preparing for a computerized tomography (CT) scan

    Commentary

    Knowing When to Say Yes to Medical Technology

    CT lung cancer screening turns out to be like many new medical technologies: It improves health but is quite expensive. Moreover, it needs implementation that targets those most likely to benefit and provides them the care they need efficiently.

    Nov 18, 2014

  • Susan Dentzer, Leonard Schaeffer, Sue Siegel, David Goldhill, and Bob Kocher at RAND's Politics Aside 2014

    Blog

    Innovations in Health Care: New Treatments, Changing Systems

    From the Affordable Care Act and new advances in medical technology to the impact of the aging population, panelists at RAND's Politics Aside discussed a wide-range of topics affecting America's health care system today and into the future.

    Nov 18, 2014

  • Report

    Report

    Medicare Imaging Demonstration Final Evaluation: Report to Congress

    RAND researchers tested whether exposing ordering clinicians to appropriateness guidelines for advanced imaging procedures would reduce or eliminate inappropriate orders. The study identified many opportunities to refine decision support systems.

    Nov 10, 2014

  • News Release

    News Release

    Biosimilar Medications Could Create Billions in Health Care Savings

    Introducing competing “biosimilar” versions of complex biologic drugs used to treat illnesses such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis could cut spending on biologics in the United States by $44 billion over the next decade.

    Nov 3, 2014

  • Blue and green pills and tablets

    Report

    Biosimilar Medications Could Create Billions in Health Care Savings

    Introducing competing “biosimilar” versions of complex biologic drugs used to treat illnesses such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis could cut spending on biologics in the United States by $44 billion over the next decade.

    Nov 3, 2014

  • Man entering CT scan

    Journal Article

    Cost-effectiveness of CT Screening in the National Lung Screening Trial

    CT screening reduced death from lung cancer by 20% during a 6 year trial among heavy smokers age 50-74; the cost was about $81,000/QALY gained. If screening is extended to not-so-heavy smokers, its value falls dramatically, and radiation risks may outweigh screening gains.

    Nov 1, 2014

  • News Release

    News Release

    Cost of Informal Caregiving for U.S. Elderly Is $522 Billion Annually

    The price tag for informal caregiving of elderly people by friends and relatives in the U.S. comes to $522 billion a year. Replacing that care with unskilled paid care at minimum wage would cost $221 billion, while replacing it with skilled nursing care would cost $642 billion annually.

    Oct 27, 2014

  • News Release

    News Release

    Making It More Difficult to Sue Physicians for Malpractice May Not Reduce 'Defensive Medicine'

    Malpractice reform has been advocated by many experts as a key to reining in health care costs. Three states raised the standard for malpractice in the emergency room to gross negligence, but that did not translate into less-expensive care.

    Oct 15, 2014

  • People walking down the street on a sunny day

    Report

    Quantitative Evaluation of the Impact of the Healthy Communities Initiative in Cincinnati

    In 2009, a Cincinnati group launched the Healthy Communities Initiative with the goals of improving health care and population health while reducing health care costs. In 2012, RAND Health Advisory Services assessed the Initiative's progress.

    Oct 10, 2014

  • U.S. currency wrapped around prescription bottle

    Commentary

    The Winding Path to Effective Bundled Payment

    It's not unusual for a demonstration to fall short of its original objectives. Learning from such cases is part of the innovation process. This is especially worthwhile for bundled payment, which has many potential benefits for patients, providers, and payers.

    Aug 29, 2014

  • News Release

    News Release

    Effort to Adopt Bundled Payments Across California Falls Short of Goals

    A pilot program intended to implement and test a cost-saving strategy for orthopedic procedures at hospitals in California failed to meet its goals, succumbing to recruitment challenges, regulatory uncertainty, administrative burden and concerns about financial risk.

    Aug 4, 2014

  • Stethoscope with roll of dollar bills

    Journal Article

    Bundled Payments Fall Short in California

    Despite widespread interest in bundled payments as a strategy to control health care costs, implementation efforts continue to disappoint. A pilot program in California failed to meet its goals, succumbing to recruitment challenges, regulatory uncertainty, administrative burden, and concerns about financial risk.

    Aug 4, 2014

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Randomized Clinical Trial of an Emergency Department Observation Syncope Protocol Versus Routine Inpatient Admission

    Older adults are frequently hospitalized from the emergency department (ED) after an episode of unexplained syncope. We hypothesize that an emergency department observation syncope protocol will reduce resource use without adversely affecting patient-oriented outcomes.

    Aug 1, 2014

  • A cracked open egg with coins spilling out

    Research Brief

    More Americans May Be Ready for Retirement Than You Think

    Because people consume less in their golden years, the conventional wisdom that most Americans are financially unprepared for retirement doesn't hold up. Evidence suggests that about 71 percent of older Americans are adequately prepared for retirement.

    Jul 31, 2014

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Continuity of Care and the Cost of Treating Chronic Disease

    Modest improvements in continuity of care correlate with sizable reductions in service use, complications, and costs for Medicare patients with congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

    Jul 16, 2014

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