Mid-week update

Following up on Friday’s post about the CDC’s Solving the Outbreak app, the FEHBlog has learned that the app is only available for the Ipad. You can’t play it on your smart phone.

Last week, Standard & Poors released its latests Healthcare Economic Indices:

All nine S&P Healthcare Economic Indices posted deceleration in their annual growth rates in December 2012. As measured by the S&P Healthcare Economic Commercial Index, healthcare costs covered by commercial insurance plans increased by 5.39% over the year ending December 2012, down from +6.19% reported for November 2012. Annual growth rates in Medicare claim costs rose by 1.20%, according to the S&P Healthcare Economic Medicare Index, down from +1.81% recorded in November 2012. It is the lowest growth rate in the history of the Medicare Index.

Following along with the healthcare costs topic, the FEHBlog ran across this California Healthline story about a series of Congressional Budget Office reports with health care cost projections.

Business Insurance reports that Aetna and CIGNA announced the results of studies finding that employers
sponsoring consumer-directed health plans have been substantially more
successful in controlling medical costs than traditional HMO and PPO
plans over the past several years.

Not surprisingly as well Modern Healthcare reports that the mental health parity act caused mental health care treatment costs to increase according to a Healthcare Cost Institute study. “The results, an analysis of five years of mental health and substance abuse spending by four giant insurers, found hospitalization for mental illness increased 5.9% in 2011 from the prior year. Substance abuse hospital stays increased 19.5% in the same period.”

Finally Truven Health Analytics released its report of the 100 top hospitals in the U.S. Two hospitals in the Washington DC metropolitan area, Virginia Hospital Center and Fair Oaks INOVA Hospital, made the list.