case study

Elevating the Issues of Health Care Costs and Transparency with the Health Care Cost Institute


The Challenge

With data from more than 3 billion claims provided by Aetna, Humana, Kaiser Permanente, and UnitedHealth, the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) had compiled one of the largest troves of data ever assembled on health care spending by people under 65 with private insurance. Yet it was relatively unknown.

Our Approach

Burness began working with HCCI shortly after it launched in 2012, serving as a critical partner in developing and implementing communications strategy over five years. During that time, HCCI produced multiple reports on the causes of rising U.S. health spending among the privately insured, including Healthy Marketplace Index. To bring attention to this work, our strategies included pitching national and state media, creating multimedia products such as infographics and video to help illustrate complicated findings, editing and placing op-eds, and engaging stakeholders through online and social media outreach.

In addition to securing media coverage for HCCI’s research reports, we were a core partner in helping to launch and promote HCCI’s price transparency platform Guroo. We also supported communications to launch new research partnerships, including a collaboration with the National Academy for State Health Policy, and HCCI’s efforts to implement state all-payer claims databases.

Results and Impact

Burness’ work resulted in marked increase in HCCI’s visibility, with regular coverage by leading daily newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today, as well as national and local radio and television stations, and established HCCI a go-to resource for media on issues around health care spending and price transparency.

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