Consumer Alert: New York has the 3rd highest hospital costs in the country.  Here’s how you can save

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – We’re number three!  But this isn’t a list we’re especially proud of.  A new study done Quote Wizard by LendingTree found New York has the third highest hospital costs in the country.  And we can all blame COVID.  The expenses that New York hospitals pay per patient increased 20 percent from 2019 to 2020.  And that means our insurance premiums are on the rise as well.

The COVID pandemic hit hospitals hard.  They had more patients, and those patients were sicker. Hospitals across our state saw steep increases in the cost of everything from supplies, to equipment to labor.  New York hospitals spend on average $4,000 per patient, making us third in the nation for the cost of hospital care, second only to Washington state and Oregon.  And if hospitals pay more, they charge more; your insurer pays more, and those costs are passed along to us by way of increases in our premiums.

“When we look at New York, we found that health insurance premiums have gone up almost 25 percent  since 2016 and it’s likely to get even more expensive as we go forward,” said Nick VinZant, senior analyst at Quote Wizard by LendingTree.

While you may have little control over your premiums, you have some control of our out of pocket costs.  Congress mandated that hospitals be transparent about costs.  So every hospital has a website where you can get an estimate of what your out of pocket costs are going to be.  So I checked the estimated cost at Strong, RGH, and Borg & Ide of a CT Scan of the pelvis with contrast.

At Strong, the estimated cost is $1,400. I’ve been healthy this year.  So assuming I have to pay my entire thousand dollar deductible, my bill would be $1,215 dollars.  At Rochester General the total cost estimate is $1526.  And my portion would be $1096. But at Borg and Ide, the cost is $534. That’s almost $700 dollars less than my out of pocket cost at Strong, and about $560 dollars less than my estimated cost at RGH.

That’s because Borg & Ide is a stand alone imaging facility and doesn’t have the overhead of a hospital. So it pays to do a cost comparison before your procedure or imaging.