FAIR Health Research

December 16, 2021

FAIR Health publishes original data studies exploring healthcare-related issues. This year’s studies concerned the COVID-19 pandemic, air ambulance services, and place of service trends and medical pricing. In addition, we created the COVID-19 Cost Tracker and redesigned the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker for its second year. We also released two infographics on current trends and patterns related to air ambulances, as well as an infographic on maternal health during COVID-19 and another on FAIR Health consumer website usage statistics.

FAIR Health, COVID-19 Treatment and Hospitalization Costs: A Descriptive Analysis of the FAIR Health COVID-19 Cost Tracker, A FAIR Health Brief, December 15, 2021.
This brief provided a descriptive analysis of the COVID-19 patient population whose treatment and hospitalization costs are tracked by FAIR Health’s COVID-19 Cost Tracker. Focusing on the period from April 2020 to August 2021, the analysis showed month by month how many patients were diagnosed with COVID-19 and what treatment pathways they took, with the data analyzed by age, gender, and rural versus urban location. It studied mortality, median length of stay, number and type of comorbidities, and costs. Among the findings: New Jersey emerged as the state with the highest average allowed amount for complex hospitalizations for COVID-19, while Maryland had the lowest.

FAIR Health, Air Ambulance Services in the United States: A Study of Private and Medicare Claims, A FAIR Health White Paper, September 28, 2021.
This white paper shed light on aspects of air ambulance services—both fixed-wing and rotary-wing—across the nation, including utilization, costs, age, gender, diagnoses that drive air ambulance use, differences across states, and outcomes of air ambulance transport as compared to ground ambulance transport. The study showed that the average estimated allowed (in-network) amount for base fixed-wing air ambulance transport (not including mileage charges) rose 76.4 percent, from $8,855 in 2017 to $15,624 in 2020.

FAIR Health, Air Ambulance: Growth, Costs and Geography, A FAIR Health Infographic, August 2021.
This infographic focused on growth, costs and geography of air ambulance services. Among the findings reported in the infographic: Air ambulance claim lines increased each year from 2016 to 2020 as a percentage of all ambulance (ground and air) claim lines. From 2016 to 2020, they increased 30.3 percent.

FAIR Health, Air Ambulance: Demographics and Diagnoses, A FAIR Health Infographic, August 2021.
This infographic focused on demographics and diagnoses associated with air ambulance services. Among the findings: From 2016 to 2020, fixed-wing air ambulance transport was more associated with males than females in all age groups except for the age group 36 to 50 years. In addition, from 2016 to 2020, rotary-wing air ambulance transport was more associated with males than females in all age groups.

FAIR Health, A Detailed Study of Patients with Long-Haul COVID: An Analysis of Private Healthcare Claims, A FAIR Health White Paper, June 15, 2021.
This eighth COVID-19 study examined 1,959,982 COVID-19 patients for the prevalence of post-COVID conditions 30 days or more after their initial diagnosis with COVID-19. The patients’ post-COVID conditions were analyzed, with the most common conditions identified. Particular attention was given to age and gender, mental health conditions and death. Among the findings: Nineteen percent of COVID-19 patients without symptoms went on to exhibit at least one post-COVID condition 30 days or more after their initial COVID-19 diagnosis.

FAIR Health, FH® Healthcare Indicators and FH® Medical Price Index 2021: An Annual View of Place of Service Trends and Medical Pricing, A FAIR Health White Paper, March 31, 2021.
This was the fourth edition of FAIR Health’s annual white paper on place of service trends and medical prices. FH Healthcare Indicators focused on alternative places of service—retail clinics, urgent care centers, telehealth and ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs)—and compared them to the more traditional venues of emergency rooms (ERs) and offices, with an emphasis on changes in utilization, geographic and demographic factors, diagnoses, procedures and pricing. The report showed that, from 2018 to 2019, telehealth increased in utilization by 73 percent, urgent care centers by 47 percent, retail clinics by 39 percent, ERs by 33 percent and ASCs by 30 percent. FH Medical Price Index presented an overview from May 2012 to November 2020 of the weighted average growth in median billed charges and median allowed amounts in six procedure categories: professional evaluation and management (E&M), hospital E&M, medicine, surgery, pathology and laboratory, and radiology.

FAIR Health, The Impact of COVID-19 on Pediatric Mental Health: A Study of Private Healthcare Claims, A FAIR Health White Paper, March 2, 2021.
This seventh COVID-19 study analyzed the effects of the pandemic on US pediatric mental health. To do so, FAIR Health tracked month-by-month changes from January to November 2020 compared to the same months in 2019. Aspects of pediatric mental health investigated included overall mental health, intentional self-harm, overdoses and substance use disorders, top mental health diagnoses, reasons for ER visits and state-by-state variations. The report found that, in March and April 2020, mental health claim lines for individuals aged 13-18, as a percentage of all medical claim lines, approximately doubled over the same months in the previous year.

FAIR Health, Maternal Health against the Backdrop of COVID-19, A FAIR Health Infographic, January 2021.
This infographic concerned the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternity services and maternal and neonatal health. It focused on month-by-month changes from January to September 2019 compared to the same months in 2020. Among the findings: The share of deliveries performed by obstetricians/gynecologists (as compared, for example, to certified nurse midwives) increased 14.7 percent from January to September 2020. This was in contrast to the corresponding months in 2019, which saw a decrease of 1.4 percent.

FAIR Health, Fairhealthconsumer.org Usage Statistics 2020, A FAIR Health Infographic, January 2021.
This annual infographic displayed year-end statistics on usage of FAIR Health’s free, award-winning, healthcare cost transparency website for consumers, fairhealthconsumer.org. The infographic included users’ age, gender, top 10 states of origin, insurance status, most popular educational topics and most frequently visited total treatment cost bundles. The statistics showed that “physical therapy” was the top searched medical term and “root canal” the top searched dental term.

COVID-19 Cost Tracker
In October, FAIR Health launched a set of free, online, interactive maps displaying typical costs for COVID-19 treatment and hospitalization state by state across the nation. Part of FAIR Health’s “States by the Numbers” series, the COVID-19 Cost Tracker shows average and median costs, both in-network and out-of-network, for three different COVID-19 treatment pathways: complex inpatient, noncomplex inpatient and outpatient. The tool uses data from FH® Total Treatment Cost COVID-19 benchmarks.

Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker
Launched in May 2020 as a free service, the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker uses FAIR Health data to track how telehealth is evolving from month to month. An interactive map of the four US census regions allows the user to view an infographic on telehealth in a specific month in the nation as a whole or in individual regions. The 2021 edition of the Tracker was redesigned to focus more on month-to-month changes in telehealth usage rather than year-over-year changes to provide greater insight into how telehealth was continuing to evolve as we moved further away from the onset of the pandemic. Each infographic shows month-to-month changes in volume of telehealth claim lines, top five telehealth procedure codes, top five telehealth diagnostic categories and top five granular diagnoses within the most common diagnostic category.