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The NetMinder Blog

The Best Solutions to High Healthcare Costs Are Local

Posted by Laura McMullen on Tue, Jul 11, 2017

A new interactive mapping tool and issue brief released by the Health Care Cost Institute with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows wide variation in prices for different categories of medical services within communities and across the country between 2012 and 2014.

map of US.png

The Healthy Marketplace Index: Medical Service Price Category Index uses annual health care claims data from over 40 million Americans under age 65 with employer-sponsored insurance which accounts for more than 25% of the commercially insured population in the US. Aetna, Humana, Kaiser Permanente, and UnitedHealthcare contribute data to this project. The information is organized by CBSA, Core Based Statistical Areas, which are commonly used geographic regions of economic integration comprised of counties.

Users can look at costs in three categories: inpatient, outpatient, and physician services. Costs rose in all three categories although not at the same rate. “Prices for outpatient services rose fastest, while physician price increases were minimal. The most consistent growth was seen in inpatient prices which increased, on average, five percent each year,” the report notes.

Other highlights are:

  • There’s a link between inpatient and outpatient price levels. The report hypothesizes that “some aspects of the drivers underlying inpatient and outpatient prices may be related, such as commonalities in labor supply or population health.” HCCI found only a minimal relationship between physician services and the other two categories.
  • Some markets are consistent in pricing across categories. For example, prices in Cincinnati are consistently below average, prices in Nashville are consistently average, and prices are consistently high in Dallas. Other markets, such as Trenton, New Jersey had average inpatient and physician prices, but high outpatient prices compared to the national averages.

Download the issue brief or try out the mapping tool to see what your key markets look like.

Tags: health insurance, claims data, healthcare cost, inpatient services, outpatient services

NetMinder's Data Brings Intelligence to Recruiting

Posted by Susan Donegan on Tue, Jun 27, 2017

NetMinder provides the data you need to recruit proactively. A shorter target list of the best prospects makes it easier to succeed, and less expensive to do so.

Here are just a few of the ways network managers can use real market intelligence to recruit proactively.

  • intelligent recruiting.jpgLearn which dentists participate in many networks. They'll be more receptive to adding new networks and can help you grow more efficiently.
  • Find locations with multiple dentists. This creates efficiency in increasing sheer numbers of dentists.
  • Find dentists who practice in more than one location. This makes it easier to increase listed locations, compared to recruiting one at a time.
  • Find dentists where you know they are practicing. Confirmed by submitted claims, practicing locations are your best place to find dentists to recruit.
  • Target dentists who are heavily utilized. Selecting those with more cliams activity helps you find the more popular dentists.
  • Look for dentists who accept discounts. Prospects who accept discounts from others should be more affordable.   

Download our whitepaper, Recruit Smarter, Not Harder to learn how NetMinder data can help you target and recruit dentists more successfully and efficiently.

Tags: dental network, Healthcare, insurance companies, practicing locations, claims data, insurance networks

Network Analysis with Disruption Reporting

Posted by Susan Donegan on Fri, May 19, 2017

Network_Analysis_Pyramid_Cover.pngThis method of network analysis correlates historical provider utilization and claims experience for a group of employees to the providers in a different network. If you assume that a population will utilize the same set of providers at the same frequency, you can estimate the amount of future utilization that will be in-network. Disruption Reporting is also used as a predictor of future financial experience, with more in-network claims (at a discount) resulting in lower overall claims expenses.

The utilization or claim file required for this method of analysis must include demographic data for each utilized provider, to determine if that provider is in the prospective network. Ideally it would also include quantitative statistics on how much treatment each provider performed, such as:

  • Submitted claims (number and/or amount)
  • Paid claims (number and/or amount)
  • Number of procedures performed
  • Number of patients treated

This type of utilization or claim file is generally only available when the company requesting it has at least 200 employees enrolled in that benefit plan.

Considerations

There is tremendous variation in the format and quality of the utilization and/or claim data files that are included with requests for disruption reports. Unfortunately, it is very common for key provider identifiers to be omitted:  

  • Tax Identification Number (TIN)
  •  National Provider Identifier (NPI)  
  • State license numbers 

In addition to the variation in the utilization and claim data files, there is a tremendous amount of variation in the matching criteria used when these reports are produced. When some networks use looser criteria than others, employers and employees don’t get a clear picture of network access.

Download our whitepaper, The Network Analysis Pyramid for an overview of the most widely used methods to analyze provider networks.

Tags: disruption reporting, data analysis, provider networks, claims data, repricing analysis, discounted fees, network analysis

Claims Data Makes Provider Directories More Accurate

Posted by Laura McMullen on Thu, Jan 21, 2016

“About 70% of plans sold on the exchanges in 2014 featured a limited network, and their premiums were up to 17% cheaper than plans with broader networks, according to a study by consulting firm McKinsey & Co.”, reported Modern Healthcare in March 2015. In response to consumer complaints about narrow networks, network adequacy regulations set criteria for distance to providers; the quantity of providers in a network; and the inclusion of essential community providers in a geographic area and, beginning January 2016, fines for inaccurate data.

Accurate provider directories are a problem for all networks. Providers retire, sell their practices, change jobs, and die, just like everyone else. It’s difficult to stay on top of this information, especially if you have several networks and/or network partners. The credentialing process, where provider credentials are reviewed at least once every three years to evaluate their practice histories and qualifications, and self-reporting are the primary methods network managers use to update their records. A 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology found that these methods aren’t working:

  • Among 4,754 total dermatologist listings in Medicare Advantage networks in 12 US metropolitan areas, 45.5% were duplicates in the same plan directory.
  • Less than half (48.9%) of the unique physician listings were reachable, accepted the listed plan, and offered an appointment.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General found similar results when looking at Medicaid networks in 2014. When they surveyed 1,800 primary care providers and specialists, “35 percent could not be found at the location listed by the plan, another 8 percent were at the location but said that they were not participating in the plan, and an additional 8 percent were not accepting new patients.”

Some experts suggest improving the accuracy of provider directories by including only providers to whom you’ve paid claims within 12 months. “Since 2013, New Jersey health plans must attempt to contact any provider who hasn't filed a claim in 12 months. If a provider fails to respond in 30 days, the insurers must remove that listing. Since then, ‘the number of complaints has gone down,’ says Larry Downs, CEO of the Medical Society of New Jersey,” in “Insurers Race to Avoid New Fines” on nasdaq.com.

Overstated access has been a problem in dental PPO provider directories for several years; access points are growing twice as fast as unique providers and unique locations.

top_15_dental.jpg

We’ve seen success using claims to verify locations where providers are practicing in our dental network analyses. In general, we find that about 75% of dental access points can be validated through claims analysis. Demonstrating clean data vs. your competitors is a definite advantage when selling your network to clients and brokers and also helps focus recruiting efforts, saving time and money. Learn more about our approach in our whitepaper Are Dental Provider Directories Overstated?

What steps are you taking to ensure accurate provider directories? How do you figure out which providers are really available in your competitors’ directories?

Tags: narrow networks, provider networks, dental PPO networks, medicare advantage, provider directories, claims data

 

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