Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Despite being shamed for overcharging patients, hospitals raised their prices, again

with one comment

Single-payer healthcare and non-profit hospitals look better and better. Lena Sun reports in the Washington Post:

A year ago, a study about U.S. hospitals marking up prices by 1,000 percent generated headlines and outrage around the country.

Twenty of those priciest hospitals are in Florida, and researchers at the University of Miami wanted to find out whether the negative publicity put pressure on the community hospitals to lower their charges. Hospitals are allowed to change their prices at any time, but many are growing more sensitive about their reputations.

What the researchers found, however, was that naming and shaming did not work. The researchers looked at the 20 hospitals’ total charges in the quarter of a year before the publicity and compared them to charges in the same quarter following the publicity. There was no evidence that the negative publicity resulted in any reduction in charges. Instead, the authors found that overall charges were significantly higher after the publicity than in previous quarters.

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“We were thinking we would see a drop or lowering of some charges,” said Karoline Mortensen, one of the authors of the study published in the Journal of Health Care Finance earlier this year. “There’s nothing stopping them,” she said, referring to the hospitals. “They’re not being held accountable to anyone.”

Researchers say the main factors leading to overcharging are the lack of market competition, lack of hospital transparency and the fact that the federal government does not regulate prices that health-care providers can charge. Only two states, Maryland and West Virginia, set hospital rates.

When the original study was published, shares of Community Health Systems, which owns many of the 50 hospitals listed with the highest markups, traded with almost triple the volume of the preceding weekday, suggesting shareholders had concerns about the system’s pricing practices, the University of Miami researchers said. Share price fell by $1.39 that week, or more than 2.5 percent, but recovered by the end of that week.

Understanding hospital pricing and charges is one of the most frustrating experiences for consumers and health-care professionals. It is virtually impossible to find out ahead of time from the hospital how much a procedure or stay is going to cost. Once the bill arrives, many consumers have difficulty deciphering it.

After a Utah man posted a photo of his hospital bill on Reddit, showing a$39.35 charge for what he thought was for holding his newborn, his post triggered more than 11,000 comments. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 October 2016 at 6:29 pm

One Response

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  1. The heathcare system in America is a criminal enterprise. I have had a life long problem with chronic sinus disease. As a result, my insurance premiums have skyrocketed. I pay $1,100 a month for private health insurance in California (Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield).

    I recently had an appointment with my ENT at USC, where he performed a routine diagnostic with an endoscope plus a lavage type procedure. The doctor’s office charged my insurance $1600 for the visit, of which the insurance company is telling me I have to pay $1400.

    On top of this, the USC Hospital, which owns the campus where my doctor’s office is located, is charging me a “facility fee” for the use of the endoscope. The fee: $4500, of which I have to pay $750.

    I have a sinus infection and a trip to the doctor is going to cost me over $2000. On top of the $13,000 a year I spend on private health insurance so that my health care costs won’t bankrupt me.

    Except that my heath care costs are bankrupting me.

    I repeat, healthcare in America is a criminal enterprise.

    Alex

    21 October 2016 at 2:36 pm


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