What Hospitals Charge – Some $8k, Others $38k

coinsOne of the reasons healthcare costs have spun out of control is that most consumers are blind to those costs. There isn’t an easy method of shopping for price and little-to-no incentive for doing so since most consumers only care about their small co-pay.

That all changes today with a “big data” play.

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.

– From the Washington Post

An interactive table at the Washington Post allowing a quick scan of each State's cost ranges for various procedures

An interactive table allowing a quick scan of each State’s cost ranges for various
procedures, this data display is one of cost ranges in Minnesota – Washington Post

As an owner of multiple small businesses there is no question that I keep a close eye on medical costs and have had personal experiences with the virtual impossibility of being able to shop for medical procedures by cost and efficacy. This is a fabulous first step in bringing a much-needed level of transparency to a healthcare industry which the U.S. spends more on than any other country in the world (and over 15% of our GDP too).

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