Monday, July 11, 2016

Sacramento & San Francisco, Most Expensive Places To Give Birth



by Ron Shinkman |
Jul 8, 2016 10:06am

Northern California hospitals are among the most expensive in the nation in which to give birth to a child, according to new research by Castlight Health.

The study finds that Sacramento is the most expensive city in the U.S. to deliver a baby by either vaginal delivery or Cesarean section, with San Francisco as number two. They run $15,420 and $15,204 respectively for vaginal deliveries, more than a third higher than Minneapolis, the next most expensive city.

Sutter Health, which is the predominant hospital operator in both the Bay Area and Sacramento, may be the source of some of the price disparit

y. The non-profit chain is well-known for its high prices, and has butted heads with insurers such as Blue Shield of California,which has claimed its charges are about 30 percent higher than other providers.

But such pricing issues are not confined to Northern California. A 2015 study by researchers from the Yale School of Medicine concluded that price variations among hospitals for childbirth vary by as much as 10-fold. In some instances, hospital bills for childbirth can approach nearly $40,000.

“It’s a black box when it comes to pricing in healthcare,” Kristin Torres Mowat, a Castlight senior vice president, told Kaiser Health News. “There's not a rational explanation for this kind of variation for similar procedures in the same geography. It highlights how inefficient the healthcare market is.”

Kaiser Health News has reported that both the high charges of Sutter and Dignity Health--along with aligning with the lion's share of the area's obstetricians may be contributing factors. “The less choice and competition there is, the higher the pricing,” Mowat told the publication.

- read the Castlight Health article
- check out the Kaiser Health News article
Healthcare Costs, Sutter Health, Dignity Health

Thank You Mr Shrinkman and FH.

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