Healthcare Affordability: Untangling Cost Drivers

“You can’t fix what you don’t understand, but with reliable information on cost drivers we can begin to make the changes needed to make healthcare more affordable.”
Elizabeth Mitchell
Former President and CEO, NRHI

This interactive page features resources that can enable stakeholders to take action, both locally and nationally, to address healthcare affordability. Click on an icon below to get started.

What is the HealthPartners Measure?

Stakeholder Resources


Providers developing referral patterns that guide patients to high-value care

Policy Makers

State policymakers budgeting limited government resources


Employers and health plans aligning benefit design and provider payments with higher quality, lower cost of care

Health Plans

Employers and health plans aligning benefit design and provider payments with higher quality, lower cost of care


Consumers choosing healthcare providers with an eye toward their own healthcare spending 

Read the Full Report.

Healthcare Affordability: Untangling Cost Drivers, is NRHI’s second annual report comparing the total cost of care for those with private insurance in various U.S. regions. The report uses the average cost of healthcare for comparable populations as its benchmark, and compares each state to that average. Like other recent studies, Untangling Cost Drivers finds that healthcare costs vary widely between states. The NRHI report, however, digs into the “why” and reveals how different care delivery patterns and local prices contribute to the significant cost differences between Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Minnesota, and Maryland. Each state’s numbers tell a story, giving stakeholders insight into the role that local policies, demographics, and market factors play in driving healthcare costs. This knowledge can enable them to take steps to address their specific issues.

NRHI has collaborated with several of its members on its Total Cost of Care initiative since November 2013.  The national comparison detailed in this report is supported by practice-level reporting that each member does in its region. Four of the five states participating in the 2015 effort also participated in the 2014 benchmark study released by NRHI in January 2017. With the publication of this report, NRHI now has two sets of regional cost comparisons, and another round is scheduled for release in late 2018. With three years of data, trends will begin to emerge to support existing hypotheses and/or challenge long-held assumptions.

Healthcare Affordability: Untangling Cost Drivers was developed with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. To read the full report, click here.

For a two-page summary document, click here.