How Much Will Your Surgery Cost? Hospitals Can't Tell You
Posted Apr 18 2010 12:20pm
A new research
paper from The Healthcare Blue
Book entitled Surgery Pricing Secrets: The Challenges Patients Face, shows
that it is almost impossible to get prices ahead of time if a patient plans to have
surgery in a hospital.
Book researchers found that:
took three times as many phone calls and four times as long to get pricing information
from a hospital.
would not provide guaranteed prices and price ranges often varied by more than 100%.
were more likely to discount prices for cash customers; regardless of the patient’s
fees are 3-4 times higher in a hospital than in an ASC.
Book researchers contacted hospitals and ambulatory care centers (ASCs) in three markets:Raleigh-Durham
.Hospitals and ASCs were asked to provide
the costs of an anterior cruciate ligament surgery of the knee for a patient without
primarily about facility fees, but researchers also asked respondents about other
fees associated with the surgery.
certain health care expenditures, which totaled about $2.5 trillion in 2009, will
continue to climb by at least 6% a year.Hospital
costs are 31% of the total according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
So what are health care consumers going to do?
Blue Book, an Internet content provider, offers a free consumer guide to fair pricing
for healthcare treatments and services for local markets.
“One of the
main tenets of successful healthcare reform will be patients taking more responsibility
for finding out what their care costs as they make treatment decisions,” said Dr.
Jeffrey Rice, Healthcare Blue Book CEO, and white paper author. “But until hospitals
are able to provide exact pricing, managing out of pocket costs for both insured and
self-pay patients is almost impossible.”