MILWAUKEE - Residents
of southeastern Wisconsin have seen their hospital commercial
payment levels grow at approximately half the rate of the national
level, according to a study released Wednesday.
The Greater Milwaukee
Business Foundation on Health, Inc. - a private operating
foundation - found that from 2003 to 2012, the amount paid in
hospital visits by southeastern Wisconsin residents had grown by 37
percent, or 3.5 percent each year, compared to the national Hospital
Component of Consumer Price Index, which grew by a total of 75
“Studies commissioned by the Foundation found
southeast Wisconsin average commercial health care premium costs
were initially substantially higher relative to other Midwest
markets,” GMBFH Executive Director Ron Dix said in a release. “Over
time this gap in average commercial premium costs between southeast
Wisconsin and other Midwest markets has shrunk significantly.
“This study suggests that hospitals in our area
continue to contribute to making southeast Wisconsin health care
costs more competitive.”
The study, conducted by the consulting firm Milliman,
looked at key factors which influenced the region’s commercial payer
hospital payment levels. It found that no hospital in southeastern
Wisconsin saw an aggregate increase greater than that of the
Hospital CPI over the same nine-year period.
The study also found that the day-to-day operating
costs of hospitals in this region have grown at a significantly
lower rate than the rest of the nation, especially in more recent
years. Local operating costs increased at a rate of two percent each
year from 2003 to 2008, and at half that rate from 2009 to 2012.
National averages, however - listed as the Hospital Producer Price
Index and CMS Hospital Market Basket - grew at rates of 34 and 47
percent, respectively, over the period of the study.