Hospital charges rose 8% to $943 billion in 2006 nationwide, up from $873 billion the prior year, even though hospital admissions increased only slightly, according to a new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (Modern Healthcare).
For the uninsured, charges rose by 15% from 2005 to 2006, to $44 billion. Charges for Medicaid patients rose 9%, Medicare charges rose 8%, and private insurance patients paid 6% more over the one-year period, according to the report. The charges involved 39.4 million hospital stays and didn’t include hospital outpatient care, physician fees for admissions or emergency visits for patients who were not admitted. Total hospital stays in 2005 were nearly the same, at 39.2 million, the AHRQ said.
Over half the hospital charges in 2006 were for the 20 most-expensive conditions. Ranking No. 1 in costs was coronary artery disease, which accounted for 5.6% of total charges, followed closely by pregnancy and delivery, at 5.1%, the AHRQ said in its report, produced by its Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project