Tracking Health Care Costs

Fall 1996
Health Affairs , vol.15, no.3 (Fall 1996): 140-149
Paul B. Ginsburg, Jeremy D. Pickreign

Rates of increase in health care costs have fallen throughout the 1990s, especially in fee-for-service plans. This article attempts to shed light on cost trends and their relevance to policy - a difficult task because information on trends comes from a number of inconsistent sources and the relevant measure of cost depends on the questions being asked. Policy issues, as well as their relevant adjustment measures, include the degree of progress in controlling costs and how Medicare will be financed in the future. Three types of data were used to develop cost trends: health care provider revenue and costs; insurance claims; and employer-paid premiums.

Free access to this article is available at the Health Affairs Web site.