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For Immediate Release

Truven Health Analytics Healthcare Spending Index: Prescription Costs Catching Up to Inpatient Expenditures

Ann Arbor, MI, Mar. 15, 2016 — Prescription drug spending has grown rapidly, while inpatient spending has declined in 5 of the last 12 quarters. As a result, annual prescription drug spending is nearing the level of annual per capita inpatient spending, according to the latest edition of the Healthcare Spending Index for Employer-Sponsored Insurance (HSI-ESI) from Truven Health Analytics.

The Truven Health Analytics HSI-ESI uses private sector claims data to analyze spending trends for those with employer-sponsored insurance. Overall, it found that annual prescription drug spending reached $1, 165 per capita in the third quarter of 2015, which reflected a 1.4 percent rise from the prior quarter. That figure is nearly identical to annual per capita inpatient spend of $1, 239, which declined by 0.3 percent in Q3 2015.

Total annual spend for hospital services – which is a combination of inpatient services provided by the facility and outpatient hospital services – is $2, 563 per capita. While inpatient spending has been declining, hospital outpatient spending has been growing so quickly that overall hospital spending was up 0.9 percent in the most recent quarter.

Overall, spending growth was higher at the beginning of the first quarter of 2015 than in the subsequent two quarters, with spending growing at about the same rate for children 0-17 (0.6 percent) and for adults 19-44 (0.8 percent) and 45-64 (1.0 percent).

“For the past two years prescription drug spending has grown faster than either inpatient or outpatient medical costs, ” said William D. Marder, PhD, senior vice president at Truven Health Analytics. “While the cost is significant, much of the change is driven by innovations that are making serious inroads in treating and in some cases curing chronic diseases. So, while employer-sponsored plans are spending significantly now, there is a potential to see significant savings in the future.”

The Truven Health Analytics Healthcare Spending Index for Employer-Sponsored Insurance is powered by the Truven Health MarketScan® Research Databases. To learn more about the Healthcare Spending Index, visit http://truvenhealth.com/truven-health-insights/health-insights.

About Truven Health Analytics, part of the IBM Watson Health Business

Truven Health Analytics®, part of the IBM Watson Health™ business, provides market-leading performance improvement solutions built on data integrity, advanced analytics and domain expertise. For more than 40 years, our insights and solutions have been providing hospitals and clinicians, employers and health plans, state and federal government agencies, life sciences companies and policymakers, the facts they need to make confident decisions that directly affect the health and well-being of people and organizations in the US and around the world. The company was acquired by IBM in 2016 to help form a new business, Watson Health. Watson Health aspires to improve lives and give hope by delivering innovation to address the world’s most pressing health challenges through data and cognitive insights.

Truven Health Analytics owns some of the most trusted brands in healthcare, such as MarketScan®, 100 Top Hospitals®, Advantage Suite®, Micromedex®, Simpler® and ActionOI®. Truven Health has its principal offices in Ann Arbor, MI, Chicago, IL, and Denver, CO.


Ariana Nikitas

Brian Erni
For Truven Health Analytics
J. Roderick, Inc. Public