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Study Finds U.S. Hospitals Charge Patients Over 10 Times the Rates Paid by Medicare,

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A study published in the journal Health Affairs found some U.S. hospitals charge patients more than 10 times the rates paid by Medicare, writes Kaiser Health News.  Of the 50 U.S. hospitals with the highest charges, 49 are for-profit institutions, 20 operate in Florida, and half are owned by a single chain.  That doesn’t mean all or even most patients end up paying those charges. Private insurers are able to negotiate the sticker price down significantly. Patients paying out of pocket can often negotiate discounts or get charity care if they are low-income. The average U.S. hospital charges a somewhat less staggering sum: 3.4 times the rates paid by Medicare, the federal health care plan for the elderly and disabled which pays fixed rates for procedures.

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