Most Americans overpay for health care, study says

According to a major research company, most Americans are overpaying for health care, and it’s by quite a lot. The study looked at hospital and health care providers in Florida and 24 other states. An FGCU economics professor agrees with the findings.

Rand Corporation discovered people who have private insurance pay more than twice what Medicare pays for the same services.

“There’s a big differential between what Medicare pays for hospital visits and treatment in the hospital and what private insurance companies pay,” said Victor Claar, an economist at FGCU.

Claar agrees with Rand’s finding. The study looked at the prices of more than 1,600 providers in Florida and 24 other states and said they charge based on what the local market would bear, not necessarily the actual price of treatment, costing private insurance patients billions of dollars.

“So it’s not based on the treatment that that patient receives,” Claar said. “It’s based on how the patient is classified.”

Upon learning this, Denise and Raymond Zacharski agreed the change should happen soon.

“That’s why people don’t get chemotherapy or radiation or surgery because they can’t afford it, “Denise said. “And they know that, and they don’t want to bankrupt their family.”

The researchers said the quickest way to make change is for the federal government to pass new regulations to bring prices down.

We reached out to both Lee Health and Naples Community Hospital to see if they charge patients more based on coverage.

Lee Health told us it charges the same price regardless of coverage or if a patient self pays. NCH did not return our call in time for air or publication.

“So that everyone gets equal and good quality care,” Raymond said. “We’re one of the top nations in the world. I can’t see why we can’t have that.”

Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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