- A sampling of previously secret medical pricing data was published late Sunday and it reveals the severity of the for-profit healthcare system’s dysfunction.
- The database of hospital rates details how patients are charged drastically different prices for the same medical care depending on what insurance company they use.
- The exposed data proves the claims for decades that a “for-profit” employer based health insurance system can better negotiate prices is brazenly false.
Julia Conley from Common Dreams writes:
“With hospitals across the U.S. refusing to comply with a new federal rule requiring them to disclose the prices they negotiate with health insurers, a sampling of previously secret data published late Sunday reveals how much basic medical procedures cost at dozens of major hospitals in a project that critics of the for-profit healthcare system said reveals the severity of its dysfunction.
The database of hospital rates compiled by the New York Times and researchers at University of Maryland-Baltimore details how patients are charged drastically different prices for the same medical care depending on what insurance company they use—with some procedures costing less if a patient has no insurance at all.
As the Times reported, at University of Mississippi Medical Center a patient with a Cigna plan can expect to pay $1,463 for a colonoscopy, while someone with Aetna insurance would be charged more than $2,100. An uninsured patient would be billed for $782.
Patients receiving an M.R.I. at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida will be billed between $1,827 and $2,455 if they have a Cigna, Humana, or Blue Cross plan, and only $262 if they have Medicare.
The data flies in the face of claims made for years by proponents of the for-profit health insurance system—including lawmakers from both parties—that insurers help individuals and employers by negotiating favorable prices for medical care.
“The worrying thing is that the third party you’re paying to negotiate on your behalf isn’t doing as well as you would on your own,” Zack Cooper, a health economist at Yale, told the Times...”
See full story here.