Same Surgery, Different Prices: Why Hospital Bills Vary So Much | WSJ

YouTube video

The prices hospitals negotiate with health insurance companies are a major driver of high U.S. medical costs. WSJ analyzes the rates at one hospital to explain why the prices for the same surgery, at the same hospital, can vary so widely.

Illustration: Ryan Trefes

More from the Wall Street Journal:
Visit the WSJ Video Center:

On Facebook:
On Twitter:
On Snapchat:

#Healthcare #HospitalBill #WSJ


Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information.

Show More


  1. This needs to be spread everywhere why is this our freaking systems. It’s broken and only lets the rich get help and treatment!!!

  2. I just paid 1500 usd for a oxygen check and a cough medicine! They didn’t even check me at all, didn’t then do any covid test or anything at all! Most of the time I spent there was negotiating with the insurance! At the end I had to pay 500 out of pocket!

  3. John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

  4. I'm in the Boston area, USA. I had brain surgery and other serious problems. The surgery went very well and many of my problems are very well addressed.
    I'm a 60-year-old middle-class worker. I get fantastic health care and the cost isn't bad.
    I don't understand how my car or computer works. I don't try to open them up and fiddle around with the mechanism. Same with my healthcare. I shop around, I do my homework, I formulate relationships of trust with providers I admire, I respect them and let them do their jobs, and I go to work every day to perform my role in society. I really don't feel like the Boston area healthcare system is broken as everyone seems to think it is. Same for my Dad in NJ when he had many medical problems in his last decade of life.
    I'm not saying it's perfect but I think it's better than people think it is and I think news outlets tend to accentuate controversy to get clicks.

  5. Because some doctors are idiots and some are not. No video needed. A four year old could have figured that out

  6. As a someone outside US and A, the rest of the world are in disbelief and amaze,

    Disbelief because living in America is a hardship when you sick and want to had an education.

    And amaze many people in America kind of happy-go-lucky and seems living for the present.

  7. 5:16 In France, contracted rates are negotiated country-wide by the federal government, so rates are fair and there is no surprise bill. If a procedure is costly, patient is given an estimate before agreeing to the procedure. A procedure never results in hundreds of thousands of dollars unlike in USA, this is so inhuman and ridiculous. By contracting rates state-wide, we could bring premiums down, we could make the US healthcare decent, accessible, and reasonable.

  8. The law should be that all hospitals are in network to all insurances. Contracted rates should be state-wide and public access. Individuals and employers have a right to choose insurances based on contracted rates. It is unfair to force people signing up for insurance for a mandatory 12 months period, only to find out that selected coverage has the worst contracted rates after signing up. Transparency, we need.

  9. When I bring my dog to the vet hospital, they give me an estimate. Why can't US doctors give me estimate before I agree to the procedure? Why is it even legal that hospital can refuse giving out an estimate?

  10. In France, the cost of procedure is the same across the country. Also the cost of a procedure is public access, and patients can even ask for an estimate before they accept the procedure. But in USA, contracted rates are undisclosed to patients, we can't obtain an estimate, we can't choose a facility based on their prices, and we all receive surprise bills that bring entire families to bankruptcy. It's insane that out of all services, hospitals get to hide away their costs before the procedure. When you go to the dentist, you can get an estimate. When you go to the mechanic you can get an estimate, but why can't you know the cost of medical procedures? This is the one thing to change that would make big difference. If contracted rates were public access, patients would get to choose their preferred insurance, their preferred doctors, and facilities based on contracted rates, the prices would follow the demand, and the medical industry would regulate itself. All we need to di is to make contracted rates public access.

  11. Quick question, does US government has any subsidy scheme for US citizens, e.g. subsidy rate based household income or personal income?

  12. Aaaaand this is why healthcare for profit is bad. Citizens should not exist to make profit for corporations. Look at how healthcare works in Germany.

  13. That is NOT TRUE. I am a self pay customer at our hospitals and hospitals/doctors offices give a self-pay discount if you do not have insurance. They charge more money for people that have insurance because the hospitals and health facilities know that insurance companies have a-lot of money. And the health insurance companies passed that cost back to the customers. It’s the same thing that happens with every market anytime you have big money such as insurance companies or government assistance or government loans such as student loans or even construction contracts most every business takes it vantage of it because they know there’s a lot of money there, and inflate their prices

  14. It’s stupid how the US does health care. When all other wealthy countries have FREE health care. Grow up American

  15. Physician reimbursement follows the same plan. One physician group can be reimbursed at a completely different rate than another group. It is also secret.

  16. Knee surgery costs around $2k to 5k in South Korea.
    Of course that is only if you are a tax paying legal citizen/ resident.
    Without national health insurance it roughly costs about x4 the usual.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button