Cost of care increases for Minnesotans with commercial health insurance

The total cost of health care for commercially insured Minnesotans increased by nearly 6 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to research released Thursday.

There were major differences from provider to provider, ranging from just over $400 to more than $1,000 a month, Minnesota Community Measurement President Julie Sonier said. The average cost of care came in at about $600 a month. Sonier said no single medical service stood out as driving the cost increase.

"There was higher growth … almost across the board, so hospital outpatient services, pharmacy and physician professional services all grew faster in 2018 than in 2017," Sonier said.

Sonier said the cost of care information can be helpful for providers and health care consumers who are seeing increased out-of-pocket costs above and beyond their monthly premium.

"It's hard for any one actor to understand that they're different from the rest of their peers without doing this kind of analysis,” she said. “One of the reasons we do it is to shed a light on that, and hopefully it spurs action both by the providers, by health plans, by employer groups, by consumers — any one of those parties is someone that we think can make good use of this information.”

Consumers can check out the cost of care data and look at quality comparisons by going to mnhealthscores.org.

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