The following excerpt was in a letter by Craig Wax to U.S. News and World Report. The final paragraph may be news to you.
IN THE CURRENT DAY , when health insurance and health care delivery are not only regulated, but mandatory for citizens to buy, patients as consumers must know costs. U.S. News & World Report’s annual listing of “Best Hospitals,” based on your rating scales, needs to include hospital service and procedure costs.
Consumer Reports monthly periodical is one such example; it not only reports their definition of quality rating scales but also costs. This is vital for consumers of any product or service to compare all variables, when able. Although, on some health care instances, such as emergencies, you cannot compare when your life or limb may be at risk. However, patients can compare hospitals and other providers of health care service at most other times. In this way, they can develop an understanding of the variables and have a general understanding and preference for facility.
Let’s take the so-called top three children’s hospital pricing schemes.
Most hospitals are designated nonprofit, as are the top three pediatric hospitals in the article. This seems to sound like they are operating at minimal reimbursement margins, but the reverse is true. They set, “chargemaster,” pie-in-the-sky prices but will accept various insurance contract prices as payment in full. Nonprofit is merely a tax designation to dodge business, state and federal taxes, while at the same time, hospitals actively solicit state taxpayer funds and private donations. They seldom offer direct care cash prices due to federal government Medicare health care price fixing.
Please understand that due to federal government Medicare law, that cash prices cheaper than Medicare rates may not be formally offered or posted. The federal government considers it illegal to offer a quality product at a cash discount over Medicare mandated rates.
Source: U.S. News Hospital Rankings Should Include Retail Procedure Costs | Letters | US News
Steve Parker, M.D.
PS: Avoid the medical-industrial complex by getting and staying as healthy as possible. Let me help.