CT consumers can’t get prices for health care; CT hospital costs for the same treatment vary widely

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A pair of articles from CT Health I-Team highlights problems with CT’s health care market. Unlike in other states, CT consumers trying to comparison shop have difficulty finding prices for health care services. Consumers in states, like NH and ME, can go online to get prices by payer for most treatments because those states have all-payer claims databases and information is online for consumers. CT is in the earliest stages of planning such a database; fourteen states are well ahead of us.

An accompanying article highlights the wide variation in prices Medicare pays CT hospitals for the same procedure. Dempsey Hospital gets the highest rate for most procedures. For example, the cost of heart valve surgery is 39% higher at Dempsey than at Danbury Hospital (the least expensive). Yale New Haven, Bridgeport and Windom also receive high prices. Variation in cost is based on the type of hospital (teaching vs. not), regional wages, income and acuity of patients, and the number of tests and procedures provided. Cost is not based on quality of care or healthy outcomes.
Ellen Andrews