Employers and insurers sometimes have limited means of reducing growth in health care costs, a new study has found.

While hospitals can take incremental steps to manage rising costs, those efforts will be outstripped in geographic markets that have undergone a great deal of consolidation, according to a new analysis from the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute.

In areas of such consolidation, the study found, insurers can be reluctant to negotiate hard with hospitals and health systems or to threaten to exclude those providers from their networks and businesses, rather than backing insurers or pressuring providers, are more likely to attempt to shift greater portions of rising health insurance premiums to their employees.  Enforcement of anti-trust laws in areas of hospital consolidation has been limited, and of limited effectiveness, the study also found.

Learn more about the impact of hospital consolidation of rising health care costs in the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute study “Assessing Responses to Increased Provider Consolidation.”