California Hospital Bill Goes Viral on Reddit

Hospital bills and prices have often been a source for news stories, especially during the past year in light of a public push for more price transparency. Most recently, a bill for a $55,000 appendectomy from a California hospital went viral, according to an ABC News report.

A 20-year-old man posted his bill from Sutter General Hospital in Sacramento, Calif., more than a week ago on Reddit, revealing his appendectomy cost $55,029.31. His health insurance covered most of it, but he was still left to pay more than $11,000 out of pocket. In the title of the man's post, he said he "thought other people should see this to get a real idea of how much an unpreventable illness costs in the U.S."

Several reports have come out in the past year, scrutinizing hospital charges and prices. A report from the CALPIRG Education Fund in July 2012 found some California hospitals charged as much as 2.7 times more for the same surgeries than other hospitals. CMS also released data this past May showing highly variable charges at hospitals for the most common inpatient and outpatient procedures.

A Sutter Health spokeswoman told ABC News that "an improved billing structure is needed, where published charges are more closely aligned with actual costs…and a more straightforward pricing system is only possible when reimbursement from government-sponsored patients covers actual costs," taking aim at Medicare and Medicaid.

More Articles on Hospitals and Price Transparency:
Healthcare's Person of the Year for 2013
New York Releases Hospital Charges, Costs
New York Times Article Puts Hospital Prices Back in Spotlight

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