KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Hospitals Reluctant To Provide Estimates Of Hip Replacement Costs, Study Finds

Researchers called 20 top orthopedic hospitals and two hospitals from every state and DC. Of the orthopedic centers, nine provided an estimate of hospital costs and doctor fees. Only 10 of the other 102 hospitals offered that information.

NPR: Need A Price For A Hip Replacement? Good Luck With That
Researchers from Iowa called 20 top-rated orthopedic hospitals across the country using a script based on Grandma's predicament. They asked for the lowest price (everything included) for a total hip replacement. The researchers also asked two other hospitals in each state and Washington, D.C., for good measure. Getting an answer wasn't easy. Of the top 20 hospitals, only 9, or 45 percent, provided a bundled price that included fees for both the doctors and the facilities. ... The researchers were able to get a bundled price estimate from only 10, or about 10 percent, of the other 102 hospitals they queried (Hensley, 2/11).

Los Angeles Times: What Will A New Hip Cost? Few Hospitals Quote A Price, Study Finds
Pricing information remains difficult to obtain from medical providers and the figures that are quoted vary widely despite government efforts to make the process more consumer friendly, according to a study published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. for Internal Medicine (Terhune, 2/11).

Politico: Report: Hip Replacement Cost Hard To Pin Down
In the study, researchers requested the lowest "bundled price" for a total hip replacement from two hospitals … in every state and Washington, plus from 20 top-ranked orthopedic hospitals nationwide. The researchers contacted the hospitals up to five times each, telling the hospitals they were asking on behalf of their otherwise healthy 62-year-old grandmother, who didn't have insurance but was prepared to pay out of pocket for the hip replacement. They were trying to find out the total cost — hospital bills plus physician fees. They discovered that a simple dollar amount wasn't so easy to find out with one — or even five — phone calls (Smith, 2/12).

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