Wednesday, August 12, 2009

America’s Health Insurance Plans survey on health care pricing

From the New York Times article "Survey Finds High Fees Common in Medical Care":
“A patient in Illinois was charged $12,712 for cataract surgery. Medicare pays $675 for the same procedure. In California, a patient was charged $20,120 for a knee operation that Medicare pays $584 for.
It’s the wild, wild West when it comes to prices of anything in the U.S. health care system, whether for a doctor visit or for hospital charges,” said Jonathan S. Skinner, a health economist at Dartmouth.
But Dr. Robert M. Wah, a spokesman for the American Medical Association, said there was another side to the story: insurers’ low payments to doctors who enter into contracts with them and the doctors’ difficulties, in many cases, in getting paid at all.
Karen M. Ignagni, president and chief executive of America’s Health Insurance Plans, had a different view, saying: “As we think about the health care debate, what’s been talked about is, What are the cost-sharing levels? What are the premium levels? How much do health plans pay? No politician has asked how much is being charged.”
Click here to access the NYT article.

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