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Dr. Kenneth Hughes Prices vs. Hospital Pricing and How to Know What Something Costs

Dr. Kenneth Hughes, Los Angeles plastic surgeon, gets many calls each day about what a plastic surgery or procedure may cost.  Prospective patients always want to know what is the price?  It does seem like a reasonable question.  Thus, Dr. Kenneth Hughes has very generously provided surgery prices or surgery costs for the most common procedures on his website. This is listed under financing and surgery price list tab.

This transparent and upfront presentation is sometimes interpreted as unusual as many plastic surgeons do not provide prices.  The same goes with hospitals.  Would it not be better to have an idea of surgery prices before undergoing or contemplating surgery?

Most of the time, the answer to that is no.  Patients only typically know the answer when they receive the bill.  Admittedly, this is an odd circumstance as the bills can be significant and can vary tremendously.  A recent article by Cynthia Fisher explained that the American Journal of Managed Care finds that only 5 percent of American hospitals are publishing their minimum negotiated charge for healthcare services as required by a new hospital price transparency rule that took effect at the beginning of the year.

She further stated that a study published in JAMA found that approximately 80 percent of American hospitals are not complying with this transparency mandate that requires hospitals to publish their discounted cash and secret negotiated rates so that healthcare consumers can shop for the best care at the best prices for the approximately 90 percent of healthcare spending that’s not for emergencies.

Real prices, like those offered at the growing number of price transparent surgery centers, allow employers, unions, and patients to shop for high-quality care at low, known prices and avoid overcharging hospitals whose high costs eat into employee wages and business earnings.

All Americans deserve the right to see real healthcare prices before care so they can make similar informed consumer decisions about their healthcare.

Many hospitals mark up prices from between 4 to 7 times what they charge for Medicare.  The average is about 3 times the cost of Medicare.

Price transparency can flip the current healthcare pricing power imbalance on its head. Healthcare is the only economic sector where patients generally don’t know what they’ll pay until after care is provided.  Dr. Hughes provides pricing estimates on procedures performed in his fully accredited surgery center in Los Angeles as varied as liposuction, mommy makeover, tummy tuck, and rhinoplasty.  After consultation, those estimates are refined so that the patient knows what is to be the cost.  In addition, Dr. Hughes includes operating room costs and nursing and anesthesia costs as well.