New Data Show Price Differences for Health Procedures

WASHINGTON — Hospitals will now be required to tell patients how much they charge for procedures, a move federal officials said Wednesday should spark competition and lower costs.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released data Wednesday showing the differences in costs for 100 medical procedures, from surgery to poisoning treatment. The data show a wide disparity in costs, even for hospitals located near each other.

"Currently, consumers don't know what a hospital is charging them or their insurance company for a given procedure, like a knee replacement, or how much of a price difference there is at different hospitals, even within the same city," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. "This data and new data centers will help fill that gap."

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Source: USA Today