Following this introduction, Chapter 2 describes the conceptual difference between medical care economic burden due to actual out-of-pocket medical expenses and medical care economic risk, discusses why both measures may be needed to inform national and state policies and assess trends, and outlines why it is important to keep the measures conceptually distinct. It also recommends an approach to measuring burden. Chapter 3 addresses concepts of resources and what should be included in a measure of financial resources for assessing medical care economic risk and burden.
Chapter 4 focuses on developing the concept of medical care economic risk as distinct from burden. It considers various methods, including retrospective and prospective approaches, to constructing a measure of medical care economic risk and outlines the panel’s proposed approach.
Chapter 5 covers data sources for estimating the components of a medical care economic risk index. Finally, Chapter 6 highlights the panel’s key conclusions and recommendations for moving forward to develop and implement a measure of medical care economic risk.
Although the principal intent of this report is to address the specific concerns of the sponsor as defined in the contract charge, the panel hopes that the report will provide guidance to a wider audience responsible for the implementation of relevant policies and programs. The panel also hopes the report will provide the basis for further research on the broader issues of measuring the benefits and costs of medical care for the U.S. population.