Health Care Costs


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

  • doctor consoling elderly man


    A Health Care Entitlement Worth Ending

    The health care “entitlement” we need to reform is the notion that America's health care system is entitled to an ever-growing share of America's wealth, writes Arthur Kellermann.

    Feb 27, 2013

  • doctor showing a tablet to a patient


    The Delayed Promise of Health-Care IT

    Globally, the health IT industry should not wait to be forced by government regulators into doing a better job. Developers can boost the pace of adoption by creating more standardized systems that are easier to use, truly interoperable, and afford patients greater access to and control over their personal health data.

    Feb 26, 2013

  • pediatrician with patient and mother


    Efforts to Reform Physician Payment by Tying Payment to Performance

    Public and private sector purchasers are actively working to design value-based payment programs to achieve the goals of improved quality and more efficient use of health care resources. How these programs are designed is a complex undertaking and one that will determine the likelihood of their success.

    Feb 14, 2013

  • man talking to receptionist at clinic reception


    Do You Get What You Pay For? Maybe Not in Health Care

    While the current state of the evidence does not provide clear guidance to policymakers seeking to address the twin pillars of health care quality and cost, it is apparent that researchers must produce more detailed data on how to reduce health care spending while improving quality, writes Peter Hussey.

    Feb 12, 2013

  • man discussing treatment with a doctor


    Are You a 'Wise' Health Care Consumer?

    To be wise purchasers of health care services, consumers need access to accurate and understandable information about health plans and providers. They wrongly assume that more expensive providers are better than less expensive ones, despite inconsistent evidence that there is any link between health care cost and quality.

    Feb 5, 2013

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Spending and Mortality in US Acute Care Hospitals

    Greater hospital spending is associated with lower risk-adjusted inpatient mortality for major medical conditions in the United States.

    Feb 1, 2013

  • U.S. currency, pills, syringes, stethoscope


    25 Small Ideas for Saving Big Health Care Dollars

    Given the size of the annual “health care spend”—$2.7 trillion—summing up the savings associated with very minor cost-saving policy changes is likely to achieve significant aggregate savings, writes Jeffrey Wasserman.

    Jan 30, 2013

  • A stethoscope set atop U.S. currency


    Health Care Spending Growth Tamed? Hardly

    The growth of health care costs has slowed dramatically for the third consecutive year, but as the economy rebounds, spending growth could skyrocket, says Arthur Kellermann.

    Jan 25, 2013

  • A girl and her mother with a doctor


    In Brief: Amelia M. Haviland on Consumer-Directed Health Plans

    In this video, Amelia Haviland presents the results of several new RAND studies on cost and quality in consumer-directed health plans, and explores how switching plans affects the quality of care.

    Jan 23, 2013

  • hepatitis virus


    Hepatitis C: A projection of the healthcare and economic burden in the UK

    Work presented in this report sought to assess the healthcare and economic burden of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in the United Kingdom using a cohort simulation model.

    Jan 11, 2013

  • couple discussing their finances


    Health Care Cost Growth Is Hurting Middle-Class Families

    Unfortunately, nearly every actor in our health care delivery system—hospitals, physicians, other health care providers, insurance companies, and the manufacturers of drugs and devices—is currently focused on maximizing revenue growth, write Arthur Kellermann and David Auerbach.

    Jan 8, 2013

  • News Release

    News Release

    More Changes in Health Care Needed to Fulfill Promise of Health Information Technology

    Despite wide investments nationally in electronic medical records and related tools, the cost-saving promise of health information technology has not been reached because the systems deployed are neither interconnected nor easy to use.

    Jan 7, 2013

  • dollar sign and a stethoscope


    Health Care Costs Are Killing Us

    At a time when our country is teetering on the edge of a “fiscal cliff,” no challenge in health care is more important than reducing health care spending, writes Arthur L. Kellermann.

    Jan 4, 2013

  • doctor exam

    Journal Article

    Medicare Payment Reform and Provider Entry and Exit

    An investigation of the impacts of Medicare payment reform on post-acute providers found that payment reforms reducing average and marginal payments reduced entries and increased exits from the market, which may affect market structure, access to care, quality and cost of care, and patient outcomes.

    Jan 1, 2013

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Role of Specialty Drugs in Private Sector Healthcare Spending

    Specialty drugs account for a modest share of total healthcare spending, even among the highest cost patients. Even dramatic reductions in spending on specialty drugs would have only a modest effect on total healthcare costs.

    Jan 1, 2013

  • heart puzzle

    Journal Article

    Relationship Between Health Care Quality and Cost Remains Poorly Understood

    A review of more than 60 studies reveals extremely mixed findings on the association between health care quality and cost. Future work should determine what types of spending effectively improve quality and what types are wasteful.

    Jan 1, 2013

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    A Comparison of Care at E-Visits and Physician Office Visits for Sinusitis and Urinary Tract Infection

    This study supports the idea that e-visits could lower health care costs.

    Jan 1, 2013

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Evaluation of a Center of Excellence Program for Spine Surgery

    The objective of our study was to assess whether hospitals designated as spine surgery centers of excellence by a group of over 25 health plans provided higher quality care.

    Jan 1, 2013

  • doctor looking at hip X-ray

    Journal Article

    Centers of Excellence: No Difference in Costs But Better Hip Replacement

    Medicare and private plans encourage individuals to use hospitals that are designated as centers of excellence. Evidence shows that the costs of knee and hip replacements in centers of excellence do not differ from other hospitals, but patients who had hip replacements in such centers had lower complication rates.

    Jan 1, 2013

  • cash in wallet

    Journal Article

    Price Shopping in Consumer-Directed Health Plans

    Based on insurance claims for nine common outpatient services in consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs), researchers found no evidence that those with lower expected medical expenses engaged in more price shopping. Consumers did not engage in more price shopping before reaching the CDHP deductible, either.

    Jan 1, 2013

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