In Some Cities This Common Blood Test Costs Under $20. In Others, Nearly $1,000. Why Do Prices Vary So Drastically?
A look at what a common, basic metabolic blood test costs in different cities reveals huge differences between costs that far outpace other commercial goods, like grocery store items.
The New York Times:
They Want It To Be Secret: How A Common Blood Test Can Cost $11 Or Almost $1,000
It’s one of the most common tests in medicine, and it is performed millions of times a year around the country. Should a metabolic blood panel test cost $11 or $952? Both of these are real, negotiated prices, paid by health insurance companies to laboratories in Jackson, Miss., and El Paso in 2016. New data, analyzing the health insurance claims of 34 million Americans covered by large commercial insurance companies, shows that enormous swings in price for identical services are common in health care. In just one market — Tampa, Fla. — the most expensive blood test costs 40 times as much as the least expensive one. (Sanger-Katz, 4/30)
In other health care costs news —
Kaiser Health News:
Summer Bummer: A Young Camper’s $142,938 Snakebite
It was dusk as Oakley Yoder and the other summer camp kids hiked back to their tents at Illinois’ Jackson Falls last July. As the group approached a mound of boulders blocking the path, Oakley, then 9, didn’t see the lurking snake — until it bit a toe on her right foot. “I was really scared,” Oakley said. “I thought that I could either get paralyzed or could actually die.”Her camp counselors suspected it was a copperhead and knew they needed to get her medical attention as soon as they could. (Heredia Rodriguez, 4/30)
More Bills Of The Month: Check out KHN's special coverage on surprisingly high medical bills.