Why medical charges appear to be so high and still growing
Commentary in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch by Steven H. Lipstein, president and CEO of BJC HealthCare
January 15, 2013
In Jan. 6 editions of the Post-Dispatch and the New York Times, both newspapers reported that medical charges and health insurance premiums are increasing.
To better understand why medical charges and health insurance premiums appear high already and still growing, we need to know more about health care pricing. How medical charges get set and the concurrent effect of greater price transparency have implications for both medical care access and cost.
Imagine two health care providers sell the exact same service — a common X-ray exam. One provider is ABC Imaging Center and the other is XYZ Hospital. The example assumes that ABC Imaging Center and XYZ Hospital each produce five X-rays at the same cost of $50, or $10 per X-ray.