Hospitals often have lower cash prices than negotiated rates, study finds

Hospitals often charge lower cash prices than negotiated payer rates for the same service, a study published in the April issue of Health Affairs found. 

Using price transparency data from over 2,000 hospitals, researchers compared cash prices, negotiated rates and chargemaster prices for 70 services. 

The study found the cash price for the same procedure in the same setting was lower than the median negotiated rate 47 percent of the time. 

Evaluation and management services were most likely to have lower cash prices, with 55 percent of services costing less than negotiated rates. 

Nonprofit and government-owned hospitals were more likely to have lower cash prices than negotiated rates. Hospitals outside of urban areas, or in counties with high uninsurance rates or low median household incomes, were also more likely to offer lower cash prices than negotiated rates. 

The study was authored by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. 

Read the full study here. 

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