Check out this May 8 article by The New York Times. They present government data suggesting that hospitals are charging upwards of 400% of actual costs for non-optional procedures.
It’s a complex issue but the worrisome fact is that competing hospitals are charging wildly different rates for similar procedures based on whether a patient is using Medicare, private insurance or isn’t insured. The worst news is that hospitals might be charging the highest rates to uninsured people to cover their bottom line.
Here’s where hospitals are taking a hit:
Reduction in fixed Medicare payouts
Basically, if you have an operation done, Medicare has a predetermined amount they will pay the hospital. If it’s less than the actual cost, the hospital has to write off the difference.
Bargaining insurance companies who pressure the hospitals into giving them deals
Keep in mind that patients are paying for their coverage with little bargaining room, and must meet deductibles and then manage copays. Yet the insurance companies then expect the hospitals to cut them slack? This is ridiculous.
And here’s one way hospitals try to make up for those losses.
Uninsured Patients Receiving Non-Optional Procedures
This is the conundrum of our system. Whose responsibility is it to take care of a homeless person who’s been hit by a car? As a humane society, we tend to our kind. And yes, the system is broken. But here’s where it gets bad. Hospitals might be charging exorbitant rates to uninsured people to cover the losses created by our government policy (Medicare) and insurance companies’ greed. This is insane. These people can’t ever pay for these procedures, which HAVE MADE UP PRICE TAGS. If we were feeling a bit more liberal arts-y, we might label this class warfare.
No one likes to flog a dead horse, but CONCIERGE MEDICINE IS A MARKET FORCE THAT PUTS POSITIVE PRESSURE ON INSURANCE COMPANIES. As more people get good healthcare while giving insurance companies less money, power will shift away from a sector that’s obviously gotten too big for their britches.
This is why we work to keep Atlas MD pricing consistent and fair. By offering a valuable service at an affordable price, people WILL CHOOSE GOOD HEALTHCARE. This, we believe, bodes well for our nation’s long-term health, more so than innumerable government policies and ad infinitum insurance regulations.
Read the complete article from The New York Times: “Hospital Billing Varies Wildly, Government Data Shows”