Fake Prices?

Posted on Aug 30, 2018 by Joey

It's healthcare...of course!

I'd always assumed that there was some form of trickery with regard to hospital pricing. I've recently become aware of something called, The Chargemaster. No, it's not a new credit card, although the name is well suited that.

The Chargemaster is a “secret document” that hospitals use when charging patients. In fact, only hospital administrators have access, and the price in not in any way related the actual cost to the hospital. According to Wikipedea, every hospital has it's own chargemaster.

Until a 2013 Time magazine article, most of us hadn't heard of the Chargemaster. That publication helped to spread the word, Now, are many articles in print and online about this.

Adam Ruins Everything, an awesome show about how gullible people can be, spends much of one episode on the subject. In fact, Adam cites several examples of hospital “fraud”. Here are a few: $7 for a single alcohol swab, heart x-ray a patient was billed $33,000, another patient was billed $137 for an IV bag that cost less than a dollar, and finally this one, the hospital charged $184 for neck brace worth twenty dollars.

In each example the program cites are backed them up with citations. (of which there are many example.)

Why to we stand for this? Why do we keep paying these made up, prices?

That's a question asked by that episode of Adam Ruins Everything.