Health Economics Program

Health Economics Program

The Health Economics Program (HEP) conducts empirical, objective research and applied policy analysis to monitor changes in the health care marketplace; to understand factors influencing health care cost, quality and access; and to provide technical assistance in the development of state health care policy.

We maintain a range of Data Resources for analysis, and publish reports, papers, issue briefs, presentations and more in our Publications library.

The Health Care Spending Dilemma

Learn about health care spending in Minnesota, how spending growth can create problems for individuals, businesses and governments, and why constraining spending is hard. This video also provides an outline of how policymakers might approach limiting health care spending growth in the future. (September 2020)


Public Interest Review: Acadia Healthcare and Fairview Health Services Mental Health Hospital

Due to the Minnesota hospital construction moratorium, MDH is required to issue a finding on whether the proposed 144-bed mental health hospital in Saint Paul is in the public interest. MDH is issuing a summary of conclusions from this review and will release a more detailed report in the coming weeks. The summary provides conclusions and supporting information based on relevant issues faced by MDH in evaluating the proposal.

Results from the 2021 Minnesota Health Access Survey (PDF)

This report provides initial findings from the 2021 Minnesota Health Access (MNHA) Survey. The MNHA is a biennial state-based population survey that collects information on how many people in Minnesota have health insurance and how easy it is for them to get health care. The rate of uninsurance was 4.0 percent. Declines were seen in private coverage, while public coverage increased. See the links below for more detailed information on health insurance coverage. (April 2022)

Hospital Community Benefit Spending in Minnesota, 2016 to 2019 (PDF)

This report explores community benefit trends at Minnesota hospitals from 2016 to 2019. The analysis breaks down how community benefit dollars were distributed between different sizes and types of hospitals, as well as across services and activities. (March 2022)

Three Key Trends for Minnesota Community Hospitals in 2020 (PDF)

This issue brief and accompanying data short take identify three key trends for Minnesota community hospitals in 2020, and detailed data on hospital utilization and financial indicators. Inpatient and outpatient utilization declined substantially in 2020, while net income also decreased. Additional public funding for hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic allowed hospitals to keep margins similar to 2019, though hospital staffing decreased to 2016 levels. Detailed tables include differences by geography and hospital size. (February 2022)

Recommendation Report for Expanded Access to the Minnesota All Payer Claims Database: Initial Findings (PDF)

This report presents initial findings for developing recommendations about expanded access to the Minnesota All Payer Claims Database (MN APCD) and a road map for developing final recommendations later this year. We present an overview of the MN APCD, provide background information about the emergence of APCDs across the country, document some of the important contributions from research over the years, and sketch out opportunities associated with expanded access to the data for Minnesota. (February 2022)

Public Interest Review: PrairieCare Brooklyn Park Hospital

Due to the Minnesota hospital bed moratorium, MDH conducts a Public Interest Review when a hospital wants to add new licensed beds. PrairieCare Brooklyn Park Hospital, which provides mental health services to patients under 21 years of age, requested to add 30 additional beds to their hospital. This report provides analysis on the need for additional inpatient mental health care for children and youth, describes the staffing and financial impact on other hospitals, and assesses the impact on lower-income Minnesotans with state public program coverage and no health insurance. (January 2022)

Administrative Costs of Minnesota Health Plans in 2018 and 2019 (PDF)

This report presents administrative spending data for health insurance carriers that collected more than $3 million in total health premiums from Minnesota residents in 2018 and 2019. The report includes a summary of high-level trends and findings and appendices with detailed tables for each eligible Minnesota group purchaser on 14 categories of administrative spending. (January 2022)

Distressed Minnesota Community Hospitals, 2019 (PDF)

This issue brief provides a deep dive into financial trends and signals of financial distress for Minnesota hospitals between 2012 and 2019. This report finds distress signals are seen more in hospitals that are rural, operate independently of a health care system, and have Critical Access Hospital (CAH) status. (January 2022)

Rural Health Care in Minnesota: Data Highlights (chartbook) (PDF)

This collection of presentation slides on rural health care in Minnesota – a chartbook – was developed in partnership between MDH’s Health Economics Program and the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care. The chartbook provides information on the structure of the health care system in rural Minnesota, the health care workforce, changes in the availability of health care services, how people in rural Minnesota experience and use health care services, and the financing of health care. (November 2021)

An appendix of Data Sources is also available.

Minnesota Health Care Spending: 2018 and 2019 Estimates and Ten-Year Projections (PDF)

This legislative report provides estimates of health care spending for Minnesota residents in 2019 and projections of spending between 2020 and 2029. The report also explores the history of health care spending growth and includes health care spending by source of funds and categories of service. (October 2021)

Trends at Minnesota Community Hospitals, 2016 to 2019 (PDF)

This issue brief provides a look at key utilization and financial measures for Minnesota’s community hospitals from 2016 to 2019. Overall, utilization and financial measures remained relatively stable for most facilities, while hospitals that operated independent of a health care system and did not have Critical Access Hospital (CAH) status saw declines in utilization and net assets. (August 2021)

Health Insurance Coverage Remained Steady Almost a Year into the Pandemic: May 2021 (PDF)

This issue brief provides an update on health insurance coverage trends in Minnesota between July 2020 and January 2021. The percent of Minnesotans without health insurance continued to decrease modestly, despite fewer Minnesotans enrolled in employer-sponsored group coverage. More Minnesotans maintained coverage through state public programs and the individual market continued to increase. (May 2021)

Pandemic’s Impact on Health Insurance Coverage in Minnesota was Modest by Summer 2020: February 2021 (PDF)

This issue brief provides an update on health insurance coverage trends in Minnesota between 2019 and the first half of 2020. Most Minnesotans had health insurance coverage in 2019 and through July 2020, despite the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. There was no substantial change in the number of Minnesotans without coverage; however, fewer Minnesotans had coverage through their employer in July 2020 than in 2019. Compared to 2017, many Minnesotans in 2019 struggled with the cost of health care, which raises concerns for 2020. (February 2021)

Minnesota Health Care Spending: 2017 Estimates and Ten-Year Projections (PDF)

This legislative report provides estimates of health care spending for Minnesota residents in 2017 and projections of spending between 2018 and 2027. The report also explores the history of health care spending growth, and includes health care spending by source of funds and categories of service. (September 2020)

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Updated Monday, September 12, 2022 at 08:57AM