Hospital prices for services have little consistency

As the Trump administration continues to put forth efforts to reduce drug costs, hospital prices will likely become more transparent. For now, prices remain somewhat obscure—and vary widely for the same procedures, according to an analysis by Axios.

For example, the price for joint replacement surgery, one of the most common inpatient procedures, was at least $30,000 in nine out of 10 hospitals analyzed by Axios. And one of six hospitals charged $90,000 or more, Axios concluded, citing 2016 federal healthcare data.

Hospitals can set procedure prices however they want—and Medicare will pay it. However, Medicare pays less than $13,000 on average for a joint replacement even though prices are “all over the map.”

For-profit hospitals tended to have higher prices, but some not-for-profit hospital systems also had some of the highest prices for joint replacements, according to Axios. And hospitals continually raise their prices to charge even higher rates.

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