Today’s hospital bill is a symptom of a broken payment system [“Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us”]. Nationally, hospitals deal with more than 1,300 insurers, each having different plans, all with multiple and often unique requirements for hospital bills. Decades of regulations have made a complex billing system even more complex and frustrating. Medicare rules and regulations alone top more than 130,000 pages, much of which are devoted to submitting bills for payments.
Patients may look at a hospital bill and think the prices they see only reflect the direct care they received, when in fact what’s reflected are all the resources required to provide the care — the nurse at the bedside and the myriad staff who keep the hospital running 24 hours a day, seven days a week — bundled into the price of every item on a hospital bill
Consumers deserve meaningful information about the price of their hospital care, which is why the American Hospital Association supports legislation that would require all states to provide this information to patients. Clearly, this is a work in progress, but we’re committed to providing more useful information for consumers. Yes, health care is expensive, and hospitals have worked hard to hold down costs. Some progress has been made with recent data clearly showing that hospital costs and price growth have slowed; the rate of growth in hospital cost per service is at a decade-low.
Hospitals remain committed to helping bend the cost curve for their patients, communities and the nation.
Rich Umbdenstock, President and CEO, American Hospital Association