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With Price Transparency in The Limelight, How Much Are Patients Really Paying? Report Says $2,873 a Day

Analysis  |  By Amanda Norris  
   November 15, 2022

Patients in the most affordable state still must work 269 hours to pay off an average hospital stay bill.

As hospital leaders work to offer affordable, transparent pricing through the No Surprises Act and rush to streamline billing practices to improve the patient financial experience, a new study sheds light on exactly how burdensome these hospital prices are for patients and how long they need to work to pay their bill.

The average cost of a hospital stay in the United States is $2,873 a day, with the average stay lasting 4.6 days, according to a recent report by ValuePenguin using data from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Using the average hourly earnings of residents of each state from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, researchers were able to calculate the number of hours of work required to pay off the bill for an average hospital stay.

Oregon was the least affordable state, requiring residents to work 646 hours to pay for the average hospital stay. It was followed by Utah (600 hours), New Mexico (581 hours), Ohio (581 hours), and California (572 hours).

Overall Wyoming was the most affordable state, requiring residents to work 269 hours to pay off an average hospital stay bill. It was followed by Mississippi (294 hours), North Dakota (324 hours), Iowa (334 hours), and South Dakota (336 hours).

Naturally, minimum wage workers would have to work considerably more hours to pay off an average hospital stay bill. On the higher end, a minimum wage worker in Utah would need to work 2,126 hours to pay off the bill. South Dakota is the most affordable state for minimum wage workers, requiring them to work 759 hours to pay off the bill.

Amanda Norris is the Revenue Cycle Editor for HealthLeaders.


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