For Profit Hospitals Mark Up Prices by Over 1,000%

Last week Health Affairs published a study and revealed that 49 of the 50 hospitals which mark up prices the most are part of for-profit hospital chains. 

Using data from 4,483 hospitals, Ge Bai of Washington & Lee University and Gerard Anderson of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that the average markup for these 50 hospitals was 1,013 percent over what Medicare pays for. Almost 25% of the hospitals on the list belong to the Hospital Corporation of America and half of them belong to Community Health Systems, a Tennessee company that has hospitals in 29 states. The Health Affairs article explains that, “Collectively, this system (of giving hospitals free rein to mark up their costs) has the effect of charging the highest prices to the most vulnerable patients and those with the least market power.”

Responding to the study, author Wendell Potter writes that it's in the uninsured's, "best interest to find out which hospitals near you are nonprofit and which ones are for-profit. And that’s not just because the for-profits’ markups are higher. The ACA requires nonprofit hospitals to provide discounts to eligible uninsured patients. There are no such requirements for for-profits."


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