KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Hospital Billing Varies Widely For The Same Procedures, Medicare Data Show

Data being released for the first time by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services show how billing varies not just between regions, but among hospitals in the same city.

The New York Times: Hospital Billing Varies Wildly, Government Data Shows
Data being released for the first time by the government on Wednesday shows that hospitals charge Medicare wildly differing amounts — sometimes 10 to 20 times what Medicare typically reimburses — for the same procedure, raising questions about how hospitals determine prices and why they differ so widely. The data for 3,300 hospitals, released by the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, shows wide variations not only regionally but among hospitals in the same area or city (Meier, McGinty and Creswell, 5/8).

The Washington Post: One Hospital Charges $8,000 — Another, $38,000
Consumers on Wednesday will finally get some answers about one of modern life’s most persistent mysteries: how much medical care actually costs. For the first time, the federal government will release the prices that hospitals charge for the 100 most common inpatient procedures. Until now, these charges have been closely held by facilities that see a competitive advantage in shielding their fees from competitors. What the numbers reveal is a health-care system with tremendous, seemingly random variation in the costs of services (Kliff and Keating, 5/8).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.