Blame Hospitals for Soaring Health Insurance Rates

health insurance rates

What If you knew how much hospitals paid for the supplies and labor costs that go into a visit? Patients would likely expect to pay a small mark-up on hospital services, but a new report suggests that this expectation for a “mild” increase on health insurance rates is dramatically higher than patients realize.

Outrageous and Arbitrary Hospital Fees Driving Up Costs

The New York Times looked into hospital billing practices and found shocking figures. Among its findings is that a $0.50 pain pill is the real price of a dose of Tylenol with codeine from a pharmacy, and a bag of intravenous fluid really costs only $1, when purchased online. Hospitals, however, charge their patients as much as $35.78 for a single pill of Tylenol with codeine, and $137 for an IV fluid bag.

The buying power that hospitals have allows them to get these two supplies for about $1.50, but charge patients a markup of 115 times the market price. With an unregulated market, hospitals charge whatever they can get away with, and clearly, they’re getting away with a lot.

Hospitals to Blame for High Health Insurance Fees

The nonprofit health care analysis organization, the Kaiser Family Foundation, reveals that hospital expenses cost Americans $2.7 trillion annually (yes, with a “t”). And the Journal of the American Medical Association recently published a study squarely placing the blame for soaring health care costs on hospitals and their exorbitant prices.

Hospitals try to explain away these increases, citing the cost of providing the best training, equipment and supplies. But the New York Times suggests that one hospital charges $1,700 for an amniocentesis, while the same procedure only costs $687 at another nearby medical center. Similarly, a $137 IV fluid bag only costs $20 elsewhere.

The bigger the hospital, the more strength they have to charge whatever fees they want. Ultimately, it’s patients paying the toll through high health insurance rates that makes the cost of health care nearly unbearable.