Four major commercial health insurers have provided seed funding to launch a new initiative to provide de-identified claims data to researchers.

The new Health Care Cost Institute is seeking additional private payer and Medicaid participants, and also will offer Medicare claims data as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services makes it available. CMS in June issued a proposed rule to make available standardized extracts of Medicare claims data to measure the performance of providers and suppliers.

Insurers Aetna, Humana, Kaiser Permanente and UnitedHealthcare will contribute more than 5 billion medical claims records from more than 5,000 hospitals and 1 million service providers from calendar year 2000 to the present. The payers will regularly update the data.

The Health Care Cost Institute expects funds for continuing operations to come from grants and research fees. Physicians and researchers, primarily from academia, comprise the institute's governing board. The institute is seeking advisory board members.

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