Compared to Canadians, U.S. Physicians Spend Nearly Four Times as Much Money Interacting with Payers

Vol. XIV No. 8
November 2011

As policymakers continue to look for ways to bend the cost curve, many have pointed to the administrative costs of health care in the United States as one potential target for reform. Physicians’ interactions with health plans create an enormous cost burden on the system. In a HCFO funded study led by Lawrence Casalino at the University of Chicago (now at Cornell University), the research team used a survey of U.S. physicians and practice managers to develop a national estimate of the administrative costs for U.S. private physician practices generated by their interactions with multiple health plans. Building on his 2009 work, Casalino’s team and  Canadian colleagues Dante Morra and Wendy Levinson at the University of Toronto implemented a similar survey in Canada to create a comparison between administrative costs in the United States and those of a single payer system like Canada.