In a study published Tuesday, HCCI found that working Americans used less healthcare but paid more for it every year from 2012 to 2016 — mostly due to double-digit price hikes for brand-name prescription drugs, inpatient surgeries and emergency room visits.

The study found that healthcare spending for those with commercial insurance reached a new high of $5,407 per person in 2016.

HCCI reviewed more than 4 billion insurance claims for about 39 million people younger than 65 who were covered through their jobs during the five-year period and found:

▪ Prescription drug spending rose by 27 percent, despite a flat or decreasing trend in generic drug prices and despite a decline in the use of brand-name prescription drugs.

▪ The average price of surgery that required an overnight stay rose by nearly $10,000 or 30 percent, to about $40,000, despite a 16 percent drop in surgical admissions.

▪ Emergency room visits increased by 2 percent, while the price of an ER visit that did not require an overnight stay increased by 31 percent to $1,917.

Consumers with workplace coverage may not realize it, but they will pay for these increases through higher premiums and reduced benefits, said Niall Brennan, president and executive director of HCCI.

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