Report: Health care price variation costs $18 billion a year

A recent report has shown that consumers don’t know how much cost variation there is in health care services between providers, and it’s costing them $18 billion in overpayments due to the price variation seen across the healthcare industry from hospitals. In network price variation is negatively impacting all U.S. consumers. Medxoom’s proprietary comparison shopping tool allows consumers and employers to get a better understanding of the price and quality variation of a medical service before they get it.

From BenefitsPro:

“U.S. consumers could save more than $18 billion a year if providers stopped overpricing their diagnostic and testing services, according to a new report from UnitedHealth Group (UHG). The insurance giant said it found prices can vary significantly for common tests such as MRI scans and echocardiograms.

The report looked at seven types of common, minimally invasive diagnostic and testing services for patients. It found that prices paid by UHG’s commercial health plans, based on claims from 12.5 million tests, varied from three-fold up to 24-fold or more for different types of tests. The UHG analysis said that if all the tests that were priced above the 40th percentile were re-priced to the 40th percentile, prices for the services would have cost $18.5 billion less, a 49 percent savings.

“By reducing price variation, many patients would pay less out-of-pocket costs and health insurance premiums could be lower,” the study said.”

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