For the uninsured across the United States, the cost of addressing medical concerns and maintaining basic health is considerably higher than those who are covered. But just how high is the cost of going without insurance?
As reported in The Washington Post, A survey of hospitals revealed that 50 hospitals across the US charge their uninsured patients at ten times the cost of routine care. The largest concentration of these hospitals–20 unique facilities–can be found in the state of Florida.
Researches had hypothesized that the mark-ups were the result of citywide or statewide inflation, concentrated in high-income communities or large municipalities. This, however, proved not to be the case, as come of the highest-charging hospitals had no correlation to concentrations of wealth.
Gerard Anderson of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, one of the authors of the study being published by Health Affairs, expressed his opinion quite succinctly: hospitals are charging patients more because they aren’t being restricted from doing so by federal regulations. Another factor complicit in these charging practices? Patients accessing hospitals outside their insurance’s preferred network.
While a thousand percent is the average markup of these fifty hospitals, some reach as high as twelve or fourteen times the original cost says Alexei Beltyukov on Flickr. Some even defying state law on the matter. And while this may seem an abnormal practice, what with 5,000 hospitals not reaching these limits, typical healthcare facilities charge an average of 3.4 times the actual cost of care.
When contacted, many hospital representatives claimed to provide deep discounts to many patients to offset these costs.