Intended for healthcare professionals


“Mind boggling” variation in hospital prices is seen across US

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 16 December 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6851
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

Largely owing to differences in hospital prices, total healthcare spending on beneficiaries covered by private insurance in the United States varies as much as threefold between regions, a large study of employer sponsored insurance claims has found, and prices for routine services often vary by a factor of more than 10.1

Healthcare spending was lowest in Honolulu, Hawaii, the researchers found, where only $1707.39 (£1140; €1560) was spent on each privately insured beneficiary in 2011. But spending was highest in Napa, California, at $5515.90 per beneficiary. Prices for routine services also varied widely between and even within regions. The price hospitals charged for routine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of lower limb joints, for instance, varied by a factor of six within the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, …

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