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Study Finds Hospital Prices for Medical Services Vary Significantly for Privately Insured

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A new study found that the prices hospitals negotiate with private health insurance companies vary considerably within and across geographic regions in the United States. The study, from researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania and the London School of Economics, provides a comprehensive and detailed analysis of private health care spending in the U.S. to date and examines the real prices hospitals negotiate with private insurers for medical services. The researchers analyzed 92 billion health insurance claims from 88 million people covered by three of the nation’s largest insurance companies: Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealth. The data, provided by the Health Care Cost Institute, represents spending and utilization for nearly 30 percent of all individuals in the U.S. with employer-sponsored coverage.  The study found that the disparity of hospital prices within regions is the primary driver of variation in health care spending for the privately insured.

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