Radio Smart Talk: How do hospitals calculate their prices?
Scott LaMar | 07.18.13
What to look for on Radio Smart Talk, Thursday, July 18:
This episode examines why hospital costs are what they are.
The cost of and spending on healthcare continue to rise and increase beyond the average rate of inflation.
There are many theories why, but one of the questions that often go unanswered is why does healthcare cost what it does, especially at hospitals?
Healthcare is undergoing significant changes today. Our Transforming Health initiative has documented many of those changes. One major difference from the past is consumers are being encouraged to shop for the best prices. Traditionally, that hasn't been easy. More information is becoming available, but even then would-be patients may be confused by the wide disparity in prices.
For example, the average bill for treatment of chest pain that is not caused by heart disease is $12,585 at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. At the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, the bill for the same procedure is $25,557. Insurance pays a lot less than those figures though -- $4,901 at Hershey and $5,102 at Geisinger. That's just one example but there are many more.
On Thursday's Radio Smart Talk, we'll examine why hospital costs are what they are.
Appearing on the program will be Martin Ciccocioppo of the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania and Joe Martin of the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council.
Martin Ciccocioppo and Joe Martin
TIME magazine's Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us
The Washington Post created a database of over 3,300 hospitals nationwide to help patients compare what hospitals in their own town charge for different procedures and how much they are reimbursed by Medicare.
The federal government said the goal of posting these charges is to increase price transparency, which will increase public awareness and understanding of hospital charges. And, this is a critical step toward reducing prices while increasing quality of care.