A Window into Hospital Charges – Medicare Releases Data on Charges and Reimbursements

On Wednesday, Medicare released on extensive spreadsheet documenting the average hospital charges and associated Medicare payments for 100 most common Medicare inpatient services.  The release of this data is unprecedented and provides consumers a valuable tool in assessing the cost of treatment.  The data provides insight into the cost for these procedures on both a local and national basis; permitting users to download the data and manipulate it by hospital, region, state, or a variety of other means.  To access the Excel file released by Medicare click here.

The data highlights the discrepancies in hospital charges and reimbursements both nationally and locally.  The release of this information is aimed at providing consumers a better understanding of the cost and reimbursements associated with these procedures.  As explained by HHS Secretary Sebelius “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.  This data and new data centers will help fill that gap.”  This data is in addition to the hospital comparison tool previously released by Medicare.

The release of this data has made both national and local news headlines: Puget Sound Business JournalNew York TimesUS News and World Report.