Bring An Equalizer to the Fight. Choose a Firm That Was Created to Advocate for Victims.

New Study Reveals Some Hospitals Charge Ten Times the Cost of Care

A new study raises serious concerns about how much hospitals are charging uninsured patients for routine procedures. Researchers with Washington and Lee University and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that some facilities charge patients more than 10 times the cost of the procedures.

The researchers used Medicare data to identify the fifty U.S. hospitals with the highest charge-to-cost ratios in 2012. They specifically compared hospitals' “chargemasters,” which detail the prices for specific procedures, with the costs that Medicare would authorize for the medical care.

Overall, the hospitals on the list charged approximately ten times their Medicare-allowable costs (the national average of 3.4). The markup at one facility was a staggering 1,260 percent. That means that if a surgery costs $10,000 to perform, the hospital charges $126,000.

All but one of the facilities on the list is a for-profit hospital. While 40 percent of the hospitals are located in Florida, two in California also made the list. Doctors Hospital of Manteca ranked 29th, while Doctors Medical Center in Modesto ranked 30th.

As the researchers highlight, most public and private health insurers do not use hospital charges to set their payment rates. However, uninsured patients are commonly asked to pay the full charges, and out-of-network patients and casualty and workers’ compensation insurers are often expected to pay a large portion of the full charges.

"There are no market forces and no regulatory forces that keep the prices down," Gerard Anderson, a professor in health policy and management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the study’s lead author, told CBS MoneyWatch. "Nobody is telling them that they can't. [The compiled information] hasn't been publicly available. They haven't been shamed."

The study findings appear in in the journal Health Affairs.

If you or someone you love has suffered from medical fraud or negligence, don’t hesitate to contacta San Diego medical malpractice attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.