January 1, 2019

This report reviews the health care cost landscape in Colorado and introduces new research by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing that analyzes the reasons behind rising hospital costs, which comprise the largest portion of health care spend. This report focuses on the cost shift to commercial payers and finds:

    • The impact of the Colorado hospital trends on consumers suggests that rising hospital costs and margins have contributed to rising insurance premiums.
    • Hospital margins for all payer types (commercial, Medicaid, Medicare, other) increased by more than 250% from $538 to $1,359 per adjusted discharge between 2009 and 2017.
    • Identifies rapid cost growth as a major contributing factor to the cost shift. Hospitals could have passed on significant savings to commercial consumers had they matched national cost benchmarks using Medicare Cost Reports suggesting as much as 8.3% in cost savings or $7.9 billion from 2009-2017.