Indiana hospital prices named fourth-most transparent

Keywords Health Care / Hospitals

The Indiana Hospital Association on Monday touted the Hoosier state’s designation as the country’s fourth-most transparent state for hospital prices, as determined by health-care-transparency startup Turquoise Health.

Only Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont had higher scores.

“I’m extremely proud of my home state for being a national leader in making hospital prices accessible and easy to understand for patients and employers,” former Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said in a news release.

“Price transparency represents a new era of consumer empowerment that can drive down costs across all sectors of our health care system,” she added. “Today’s announcement marks the culmination of years of hard work put in by our state’s hospitals and I am pleased to see their efforts recognized.”

Turquoise Health’s October report focused on the impacts of two transparency requirements that recently went into effect: one in 2021 requiring that hospitals publish negotiated private-insurance rates and another in 2022 requiring payers to disclose negotiated rates for all items and services for all providers.

Turquoise Health’s report said 55% of hospitals, or 2,264, had provided a complete machine readable file with cash, list and negotiated rates for a “significant quantity” of items and services—enough for patients to “reliably estimate the cost of care” at specific facilities, as opposed to files with less information.

Turquoise Health was founded in 2020 and is based in San Diego, California.

The startup said it expected the initial phase of adoption of price transparency measures to take about five years.

The Indiana Hospital Association also highlighted a 2021 update to its health care price and quality tool, mycareINsight.org. It first launched the website in 2015, allowing Hoosiers to compare price averages and ranges for specific procedures or conditions across hospitals before insurance.

— Vaginal delivery of a newborn in central Indiana, for example, was an average of $2,000 at Ascension St. Vincent Dunn but $21,000 at Franciscan Health Indianapolis. The category didn’t include any additional complications and the statewide average is $13,700.

— A total hip or knee replacement, not for trauma, averaged $43,000 at Hendricks Regional Health but a staggering $121,000 at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital. The state average was about $67,000.

— Lung cancer treatment was an average of $39,000 at Ascension St. Vincent Indianapolis but $52,200 at Parkview Regional Medical Center & Affiliates in Fort Wayne. Statewide the average was $49,300.

— The website also allows for comparisons of quality measures like time from arrival to departure, patients who left without being seen, procedure-related infections and more.

As lawmakers prepare for the 2023 budget-writing session, health care costs are sure to attract action. Previously, Republican leaders have vowed to take action if the healthcare industry didn’t act on its own to lower prices, outlined in December 2021 letters to health insurance companies and healthcare systems.

Analysis from the RAND Corporation found that Hoosiers have the seventh highest hospital costs in the nation, spending nearly 300% more than what Medicare paid for the same services.

The Indiana Hospital Association has criticized the narrowness of the study, saying that Indiana’s costs were comparable to its neighbors and the national average.

Indiana Capital Chronicle is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity.

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One thought on “Indiana hospital prices named fourth-most transparent

  1. Being able to compare costs of different procedures only tells paints part of the picture. Prospective patients would benefit from also know the length of hospital stays pre-op thru post-op) and from knowing the quality of outcomes (poor, fair, good, excellent). Everyone wants fast, good, and cheap. But in the end you only get two of what you want.

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