Hospital charges – what patients are billed for their rooms, nursing care, diagnostic tests and other services has jumped from $873 billion in 2005 to $943 billion in 2006, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
The steep increase occurred even though hospital admissions increased only slightly, from $39.2 million to $39.5 million. Insured patients and their health plans pay less than the full charge, but uninsured patients are expected to pay the full amount.
Between 2005 and 2006, hospital charges increased:
- $38 billion to $44 billion – 15% for people with no insurance
- $124 billion to $135 billion – 9% for Medicaid patients
- $411 billion to $444 billion – 8% for Medicare patients
- $272 billion to $287 billion – 6%for patients with private insurance.