Yes – at least medical prices did, but the drop wasn’t as much as the reduction in the fee schedule, and it was a LOT less for expensive procedures. Those are the quick takeaways from WCRI’s report (published yesterday).
The reforms brought a 30 percent reduction in the medical fee schedule as of September 2011, yet:
- Professional service prices dropped 24 percent, with the 6 percent difference driven by lower provider participation in networks (thus fewer providers delivering care at a discount) and higher prices from in-network providers.
- Radiology prices dropped 13 percent for MRIs and 22 percent for X-Rays, and ER services also only dropped by 18 percent; other than that, most service groups saw prices decrease somewhere in the mid-twenty-percent range.
- Utilization appears to be on the increase, as WCRI’s research found “more complex office visits with higher prices were billed more frequently in Illinois.”
- Surgeries are still waaaay more expensive in IL than in the median study state 2 1/2 times to be precise. That’s 242 percent more than employers pay in Michigan...
What does this mean for you?
1. Reducing prices does not lead to a corresponding decrease in costs as providers figure out how to make up for lost revenue by doing more, and more expensive, services.
2. Kudos to WCRI for getting this info out so quickly; in the past it has taken much longer, so they’ve upped their game considerably. This makes the information much more actionable for payers and regulators alike who can figure out where potential issues lie and take steps to mitigate problems.