AHIP: Hospital Inpatient Pricing Up Sharply

John Commins, March 20, 2013

Prices for inpatient hospital care rose 8.2% between 2008 and 2010, with wide price and cost growth fluctuations recorded across states and localities over the timeframe, according to a study by America's Health Insurance Plans.

Even after adjusting for more numerous or complex procedures performed per admission, prices climbed sharply for most types of hospitalizations. Unadjusted hospital prices per admission rose from $13,016 in 2008 to $15,236 in 2010, an average annual growth rate of 8.2%, said the study,Trends in Inpatient Hospital Prices, 2008 to 2010, which appeared in this week in The American Journal of Managed Care.

"Despite the keen interest in US healthcare costs, there is surprisingly little detailed public information available on one of its key components: transaction prices paid by commercial insurers for inpatient hospital care," the study said.

The 15.2% price growth for spinal fusions topped the list of 10 common admissions categories, while bronchitis and asthma came in second with 10.3% price growth, the study said.

New York led all states with a 10.5% price increase over the three years, followed by Texas at 9.3% and Tennessee at 8.8%. Within states the price growth could fluctuate considerably. For example, the price growth in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls region was 14.4% for the period, the study said.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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