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Indiana scores poorly on health care cost survey

Survey ranks Indiana 8th highest in hospital costs

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A study by RAND found that Hoosiers pay two and a half times more than what Medicare pays for the exact same services at the exact same hospital.

RAND is a non-partisan think tank.

RAND Health Care Cost Analyst Brian Briscombe said Indiana ranks 8th highest in the country for commercial hospital prices.

“If you don’t know the price of things, you’re kind powerless to shop around,” Briscombe said. “You don’t really know how to shop around.”

The study blames hospital mergers and facility costs for the price increases, along with employers paying more for insurance premiums.

“We get compensated partially by our salary and partially by our benefits,” Briscombe said. “If our benefits cost more and more, that just leaves less money left to pay your salary.”

Study authors worked with the Employers Forum of Indiana to set up a dashboard that allows patients to compare and contrast hospital prices.

In a statement, the Indiana Hospital Association disputed the survey saying it did not consider how indiana hospitals subsidize insurance companies’ low payments to doctors.

“RAND reports also do not take into account Indiana’s low Medicaid rates, which haven’t been raised in over 30 years and rank far below the national average at 12th lowest in the nation,” the statement said.

“There is no national solution for this issue,” Briscombe added. “The solution is each market will have to be better at improving their value per price.”

Hoosiers for Affordable Health Care said in a statement hospital prices in Indiana are “unsustainably high,” and hospitals should come to the table with real solutions.