Various medical centers in Los Angeles and across the nation are billing different charges for the same procedures.
Here are 12 things to note about the varying prices:
1. The price for knee or hip replacement surgery in Los Angeles can differ greatly depending on the area where a patient receives the surgery.
2. New Medicare data reveals that Inglewood's Centinela Hospital Medical Center billed the federal program an average of $237,063 in 2013 for joint replacement surgery.
3. This bill issued by Centinela Hospital was listed as the highest charge nationwide.
4. The bill issued by Centinela Hospital was also six times the rate of what Kaiser Permanente, a mere eight miles from Centinela Hospital, billed Medicare.
5. Kaiser billed Medicare $39,059, of which Medicare paid $12,457.
6. According to data drawn from federal figures, a major joint replacement operation will charge an average of $54,239.
7. Because joint replacement surgeries are Medicare's most common inpatient procedure, the federal government was billed more than $6.6 billion in 2013.
8. Data on billing for such procedures was released two years ago by the Obama administration.
9. The purpose in releasing the data was to pressure hospitals to justify the different charges for the same treatment at other medical centers nationwide.
10. By releasing data on different costs at various medical centers, patients are able to make educated decisions about where they will receive care.
11. Many hospitals claim that the fluctuating charges are irrelevant because they do not accurately show what Medicare or health insurers pay.
12. While health insurance companies tie some reimbursement to list prices, many consumers must still go out of their insurance network and patients must pay in cash.
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