Why Does Spinal Surgery Cost $12,326 At One Hospital And $80,518 At Another In The Same State?
A deep dive into prices at Minnesota's hospitals reveals wide disparities in what procedures cost, but leaves more questions than answers in its wake.
One Patient Paid $12,326 For A Spinal Fusion Surgery, Another $80,518 — At The Same Hospital
The cost of four common inpatient surgeries can vary by more than six times at the same Minnesota hospital. That is a key takeaway from the Minnesota Department of Health’s latest examination of the cost of medical care. One patient might pay $12,326 for a spinal fusion surgery and another patient in the same hospital might have a bill for $80,518. Prices for procedures also vary widely among different hospitals. The average cost of that spinal fusion surgery ranges from $26,803 at one facility to $58,770 at another. (Magan, 8/9)
The Star Tribune:
Rare Look At Minnesota Hospital Costs Finds Huge Swings
The findings, released Thursday by the state Health Department, came from a study of thousands of records detailing payments by private health insurers and consumers to hospitals for four common procedures: a simple appendectomy, spinal fusion, major bowel surgery, and removal of uterine fibroids. While much of the cost was covered by insurance, the wide swings can ultimately affect out-of-pocket costs for patients and contribute to premium increases for employer-sponsored health coverage. (Howatt, 8/9)
They Charged What? Price Of Surgical Procedures Vary Widely By Hospital, Patient
The report didn't explain why there were such large variations. But Gildemeister said national research shows the market power of hospitals and insurance companies plays a big role. "An insurance company with a really large book of business, that brings a lot of patients to a hospital, that insurer can probably negotiate discounts that are much greater than a small [insurer] that absolutely needs that hospital in its network in order to be certified and conducting business," he said. Department of Health commissioner Jan Malcolm said the lack of transparency about prices being charged contributes to the rising cost of health care. (Kraker, 8/9)