The Health Care Cost Institute will now have access to Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies' medical and pharmacy claims data, which will help the not-for-profit research organization bring greater transparency to employer-sponsored healthcare costs in the United States.
The HCCI announced Tuesday that it has formed a multiyear partnership with Blue Health Intelligence, a company that houses 19 billion commercial insurance claims for more than 195 million Americans with coverage from Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurers.
The partnership more than fills a hole in the HCCI's dataset left when the nation's largest insurer, UnitedHealthcare, decided early this year to stop sharing data with the organization. The HCCI had feared that the loss of the UnitedHealthcare claims would hinder its ability to share its dataset in the future.
With the inclusion of BHI, the HCCI dataset will include 60 million to 65 million people with employer-sponsored insurance nationwide, said HCCI President and CEO Niall Brennan. The current dataset with UnitedHealthcare's claims and those of three other insurer partners — Aetna, Humana and Kaiser Permanente — cover about 40 million people, he said.
"This new partnership with BHI, allied with ongoing support from our legacy partners, guarantees the continued availability of an accessible, trusted resource to better understand and ultimately rein in U.S. healthcare costs," Brennan said in a statement.
The HCCI uses its de-identified claims to uncover trends driving healthcare spending so that employers, government officials, academic researchers and the public can find ways to address costs. Its upcoming January 2020 healthcare cost and utilization report that analyzes trends in spending for people with employer-sponsored insurance will be its last annual report including UnitedHealthcare data.
"By adding our conformed and secure data to HCCI's existing repository by the end of this year, BHI welcomes the chance to increase opportunities to advance health care cost and quality solutions for all Americans," BHI CEO Swati Abbott said in a statement.