A study conducted by a Johns Hopkins University researcher found that uninsured patients often pay much higher prices for hospital care. According to the study, uninsured patients are billed 2.5 times more than their counterparts under healthcare plans. Hospitals have faced criticism and lawsuits for alleged price gouging and aggressive collection procedures. Members of the healthcare community have criticized the study, saying the findings are based on old data. Daniel Yi, LA Times 05/08/2007 –http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-overcharge8may08,1,188711.story?ctrack=1&cset=true
This may be news to you – sadly, not us. We have long heard that insurance companies negotiate repayment rates with hospitals, so a bandaid may be $2.50 for someone without insurance, but my insurance company has already contracted with the hospital, that they will only pay $1.00 for the bandaid. The hospital will therefore charge me $1 for the same service or care, that someone uninsured pays 250% as much.
The article cites “that Uninsured patients on average are billed 2 1/2 times more than what the insured are billed through their health plans, and more than three times what is billed to patients through Medicare, according to the study appearing today in the journal Health Affairs. In effect, the uninsured are billed at full price, while health plans and Medicare receive deep discounts. Hospitals might charge $12,500 for an appendectomy, for example, but collect only $5,000 from a health insurance plan. Members of the plan actually pay a lot less, through nominal co-pays or deductibles.”
So the moral – is that you need insurance. I know, you have to pay the electric bill too – but at least they charge everyone the same rate!