The top 50 hospitals that gouge patients the most
Understanding hospital pricing and charges is one of the most frustrating experiences for consumers and health-care professionals. It is virtually impossible to find out ahead of time from the hospital how much a procedure or stay is going to cost. Once the bill arrives, many consumers have difficulty deciphering it.
Fifty hospitals in the United States are charging uninsured consumers more than 10 times the actual cost of patient care, according to research published Monday.
All but one of the facilities are owned by for-profit entities and the largest number of hospitals — 20 — are in Florida. For the most part, researchers said, the hospitals with the highest markups are not in pricey neighborhoods or big cities, where the market might explain the higher prices.
Topping the list is North Okaloosa Medical Center, a 110-bed facility in the Florida Panhandle about an hour outside of Pensacola. Uninsured patients are charged 12.6 times the actual cost of patient care.
Community Health Systems operates 25 of the hospitals on the list. Hospital Corporation of America operates 14 others.
“They are price-gouging because they can,” said Gerard Anderson, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, co-author of the study in Health Affairs. “They are marking up the prices because no one is telling them they can’t.”