How much does an MRI cost? In Puerto Rico, $307; in San Francisco, $570

SUMMARY: How much does an MRI cost the government? Well, in Puerto Rico it’s $307, and in San Francisco it’s $570. Those are the prices paid by Medicare, the federal program for the elderly and disabled. Our awesome search tool will tell you that. Here’s how to find out: Click here to read more, or … […]

North Carolina to post prices of hospital services: Modern Healthcare

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

Modern Healthcare on a new North Carolina law, which will require hospitals to “shine a light on the actual prices paid by Medicare, Medicaid and the uninsured, as well as the average and range of prices paid by the top five insurers.” “ ‘For too long, North Carolina patients have been in the dark on […]

How much does a knee replacement cost? Medicare average: $13,464.

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

“We analyzed the 2009 Medicare inpatient claims data and other databases to estimate Medicare payments for primary or revision total knee arthroplasty (TKA). The average Medicare hospital payment per procedure was $13,464 for primary TKA (n=227,587) and $17,331 for revision TKA (n=18,677). For both primary and revision TKAs Medicare payments varied substantially across patients, hospitals […]

When is a mammogram not a mammogram? Different tests, different names

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients

SUMMARY: What are the different kinds of mammogram? The most common imaging test for breast cancer detection is the mammogram, but it’s not the only one. A mammogram is an X-ray photo of the breasts. Just as you can see the shadow of your hand on a sunny day, breast tissue creates a shadow on the […]

Drug price information: What did Medicare pay?

Filed Under: Costs, Providers, Regulators

We get excited about price information over here at, and we like to share our wonky excitement with you. Here’s a site where Medicare’s prices for drugs covered under Part B of Medicare are collected. The current data set is from April 2013. Chemotherapy drugs, vaccines, steroids, antibiotics, vitamins, painkillers and the like. These […]

How much does stuff cost: More transparency of the limited sort

Everybody wants to be transparent these days. A new pricing tool came across my radar today, this one from AthenaHealth, the  medical services company  that has expanded into electronic medical records, doctor practice management, patient communications and so on. One of their biggest services has to do with practice management, and that, of course, includes […]

The $18 baby aspirin, and other horror stories

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers

Hospital markups on drugs are notoriously high. Here are some examples, from a piece by Susan Jaffe at Kaiser Health News, in collaboration with USA Today: “In Missouri, several Medicare observation patients were billed $18 for one baby aspirin, said Ruth Dockins, a senior advocate at the Southeast Missouri Area Agency on Aging. “Pearl Beras, […]