Huge health price differences even in same area: Us, in USA Today

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 4.23.14 PM

Summary: “Huge variations exist in the prices of some of the most common medical procedures across state lines, according to a report by major insurers released Wednesday, but some experts say the data is of little use to consumers who rarely know what they owe until the bills arrive,” Jayne O’Donnell writes today in USA Today, quoting liberally from our CEO, Jeanne Pinder. “The insurer-funded Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) won’t disclose which hospitals or doctors are the high-price culprits and instead are releasing how much states’ average prices differ from national average. California, for example, has average prices that are the same as the U.S. averages for dozens of the most common procedures, including pregnancy ultrasounds and cataract surgery. But Clearhealthcosts.com, which compiles prices in 10 metro areas using data from consumers, doctors and hospitals and its own staff members’ research, finds a huge price disparity within a 100-mile radius of San Francisco for some procedures. The cash price for a lower-back MRI without dye ranges from $475 at the Castro Valley Open MRI to a whopping $6,221 at the University of California, San Francisco at Mt. Zion. Patients pre-paying or paying on the day of service at UCSF, however, get 40% off.” Jayne O’Donnell, USA Today, “Huge health care price differences even within same area, by state.”