Research Reveals Hospital Price-Gouging, Proves Value of Supplemental Medicare Plans - Mature Health Center

Information you need to live a happy, worry-free retirement!

Originally published June 9, 2015, last updated June 9, 2015

Research Reveals Hospital Price-Gouging, Proves Value of Supplemental Medicare Plans

Health care costs made headlines again this week with the release of research revealing that dozens of hospitals are marking up prices more than 1,000%.

Released Monday in the June issue of Health Affairs, the research used 2012 Medicare data to examine hospitals that charge on average more than 10 times their costs. The 50 U.S. hospitals with the highest price markups are inflating health care costs far above actual prices by charging uninsured and out-of-network patients over 10 times the amount permitted by Medicare, according to the research out of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Washington & Lee University.

One Bloomberg writer summarized the study findings succinctly: these hospitals are price-gouging the people who can least afford it. People who don’t have health insurance or go out of their plans’ networks are hit the worst by the price markups. If you’re like most hospital patients covered by private or government insurance, you don’t pay full price because insurers and programs like Medicare negotiate lower rates for their patients. 

If you’re uninsured, you don’t have anyone to negotiate on your behalf and are more likely to be charged full price, and that can result in massive medical bills that can lead to personal bankruptcy or ruined credit scores, the Washington Post reports.

The research reiterates the importance of purchasing a supplemental Medicare health insurance plan. If you don’t have one, call Medicare MarketPlace at 1-800-639-0781 to help you find a plan that fits your needs and budget.

Other interesting findings of the research:

  • Of the 50 hospitals charging uninsured consumers more than 10 times the actual cost of patient care, the largest number — 20 — are in Florida.
  • All but one of the facilities are owned by for-profit entities.
  • One for-profit hospital system owns half of the 50 facilities on the list.

Check out this map to see if your hospital is on it. 

Compare Medicare Prescription Drug Plans to Control Costs