UnitedHealthcare and the Health Care Cost Institute have ended their partnership. Photo: UnitedHealth Group
UnitedHealthcare will no longer provide deidentified claims data to the Health Care Cost Institute, a nonprofit group that researches health care spending. Three other health insurers — Aetna, Humana and Kaiser Permanente — still give data and funding to HCCI, but Humana also has signaled it will stop doing so next year.
Between the lines: The medical claims data these insurance companies possess are very valuable, and ending a research agreement aligns more with their financial interests than the broader interest of industry transparency.
What they're saying: Niall Brennan, CEO of HCCI and a former data officer at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said that "nobody is mandated to be a part of HCCI," but it "was definitely a surprise" to hear UnitedHealthcare was ending their agreement. He directed other questions to the health insurer.
- UnitedHealthcare said in a statement that it "appreciated the partnership" with HCCI over the past 7 years and that it still shared data with some academic institutions. But the insurer raised broader questions about "data security and privacy."
- Humana did not immediately respond to interview requests.
Yes, but: All data shared with HCCI is stripped of personal information to protect patient privacy.
- Financial considerations likely also played a role. Optum, a sister company to UnitedHealthcare, sells data analytics services.