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Price for hip replacement highly variable, hard to obtain
Date:2/11/2013

dic surgery practice to obtain a physician fee. Each hospital was contacted up to five times in an attempt to get pricing information.

The study found that nine top-ranked hospitals (45 percent) and 10 non-top-ranked hospitals (10 percent) were able to provide a complete bundled price. Complete price estimates were obtained from an additional three top-ranked hospitals (15 percent) and 54 non-top-ranked hospitals (53 percent) by contacting the hospitals and physicians separately. At top-ranked hospitals the complete price ranged from $12,500 to $105,000 and at non-top-ranked hospitals prices ranged from $11,100 to $125,798.

The study did not find any specific hospital characteristics that were associated with a lower or higher price estimate, but Cram notes that only a small sampling of hospitals was included in the study.

"A big finding was the absolutely huge variation in price estimates," says Cram, UI associate professor of internal medicine and director of the Division of General Internal Medicine. "We believe that our results highlight the reality that hospitals have a very hard time knowing their own prices."

"The range in prices suggests that a savvy customer may find that he or she can comparison shop and find significant savings," adds Rosenthal. "Our study suggests that it is important for consumers to ask for information about the cost of medical care and procedures and to be persistent."

For policy makers and hospitals, Rosenthal says, the study suggests there is a long way to go on to improving pricing transparency efforts.


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Contact: Jennifer Brown
jennifer-l-brown@uiowa.edu
319-356-7124
University of Iowa Health Care
Source:Eurekalert

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