Study Shows U.S. Hospitals Are Price Gouging
OKLAHOMA CITY - Hospital bills always seem to leave us feeling ill, now a new study may do the same. News 9's Justin Dougherty looks into the study that has some saying hospitals are flat-out price gouging.
This study comes from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the numbers are rather shocking.
Here's what researchers found. Some hospitals in the U.S. are marking up prices more than 1000 percent. That number is calculated from researchers also finding the hospitals are charging more than 10 times the costs allowed by Medicare.
In response, critics said it's the "lack of regulations" that allows hospitals to "price gouge."
But the Oklahoma Hospital Association said, like any business, a hospital must account for what it charges.
"I think hospitals set their charges is what they think, in their criteria and under their assumptions, are reasonable. People may disagree with what that is and one institution may have a different set of assumptions as to what drives their charges as to another. That's why I, again, always go back to whether your charges are a little bit over cost or somewhat over costs or a lot over costs.You have to be in a position to explain to your customers why is it that rate. And I know hospitals are willing to do that," said Craig Jones with the Oklahoma Hospital Association.
So what can you do? Craig Jones offers some tips saying, at the very least, this study starts the conversation. Jones suggests that you have that conversation with your hospital.
Transparency is key. Ask why you are being charged so much.
Because Oklahoma does not regulate hospital prices, the costumer may have to do so by shopping around.
If you can, look to take your health care needs somewhere else and compare prices.
Here are some reasons why the costs are so high. You're not only paying for your care, but for that of the uninsured -- those who don't pay anything for their bill at all and other services hospitals offer like an ER and 24-hour care.