All men are created equal (but some bits just cost more)
May 28, 2013 6:52 AM Subscribe
As part of the Affordable Care Act, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released data that show significant variation across the country and within communities in what hospitals charge for common inpatient services. (via)
The data showing the range of hospital bills does not explain why one hospital charges significantly more for a procedure than another one. And Medicare does pay slightly higher treatment rates to certain hospitals — like teaching facilities or hospitals in areas with high labor costs.Meanwhile, a recent projection shows that Medicare spending has fallen by $500 billion or even up to $711 billion.
Mr. Blum, the Medicare official, said he would have anticipated variations of two- to threefold at the most in the difference between what hospitals charge.
However, hospitals submitted bills to Medicare that were, on average, about three to five times what the agency typically pays to treat a condition, an analysis of the data by The New York Times indicates. And variations between what hospitals charge may be even greater.
Hospital Billing Varies Wildly, Government Data Shows
On a per enrollee basis, premium growth is expected to reach 7.1 percent in 2014, up from 4.1 percent in 2013, as a result of more generous health plans being offered to people eligible for government subsidies. For 2015-21, growth in private health insurance premiums is projected to slow somewhat and to average 5.9 percent annually, in part due to an expectation that some large employers of low-wage workers will discontinue coverage, resulting in their employees gaining coverage through Medicaid or the exchange plans. Further, in 2018, a provision from the ACA imposes an excise tax on high-cost private health insurance plans. This is expected to lead to affected enrollees shifting from more generous plans to lower cost plans that have tighter utilization requirements, narrower networks, or higher cost-sharing.
CMS's National Health Expenditure Projections 2011-2021
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