Before you read further, cast your vote…
Okay, a couple initial thoughts.
First, when comparing health care systems’ ability to control cost over multiple years, the best metric is the cost trend per member; this accounts for differences in demographics and membership growth.
Second, this only accounts for cost growth; not outcomes, patient or provider satisfaction, or efficiency.
That said, cost growth is the best metric to use when thinking about long term cost control, governmental budgets debt and deficits, and tax implications.
Drew Altman at the Kaiser Family Foundation has a simple graphic here that tracks cost growth over time. The net – from 2007 to 2013, private insurance costs increased 29%, more than twice Medicare’s growth and five times higher than Medicaid.
What does this mean for you?
If your goal is cost control, the answer is obvious. However, personal and policy decisions are never simple.