Sticker shock; the price you’ll pay at some NYC hospitals could give you a heart attack

Posted at 6:34 PM, May 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-12 18:34:34-04

NEW YORK (PIX11)– You race to the hospital during a medical emergency, but how much you pay for your care could depend a lot more on what hospital you go to than you would have thought.

Last week the Department of Health and Human Services released the prices of the 100 most common inpatient treatments from more than three thousand hospitals in 2011.

Turns out the ranges in price are drastic and some patients were shocked.

“Really surprising that the prices are too different.”

You don’t have to go far to notice the difference.
The price for a procedure at NYU Hospital Center can cost several times more than the same procedure at Bellevue just two blocks away.

In 2011 patients suffering from seizures paid almost $110,000 at NYU.

The same treatment at Bellevue was less than $14,000 dollars.

“I was saddened by not surprised,” says Andrew Polon of Murray Hill.

Since suffering a stroke Andrew Polon has been a patient at both NYU and Bellevue.

He thinks the reason hospitals get away with charging such drastically different prices are because patients don’t know how much procedures should cost.

“When you walk into a doctor’s office they need to tell you what charges they’re going to charge you.  They rarely do, you have to insist on that.”

And other patients agree, most say the first time they realize how much their medical care actually costs is when they hear from their insurance companies.

“You don’t know what you’re paying for, once you get the bill, then you know,” said Gregory Bass.

That’s why some patients say they’d like to see a national registry with the cost for major healthcare procedures.  From there they say they can decide whether or not it’s worth it to pay a little more for a certain doctor or hospital.

“I think there should be a baseline and you can vary from the baseline, but it’s your choice as a customer if you want to pay more or less.”

But for most people with private insurance, how much you pay for a procedure will be up to your insurance company.
That’s because most insurances negotiate their own prices with each hospital.