The Department of Health & Human Services has created a database that for the first time gives consumers information on what hospitals charge. The data, on the charges for services that are provided during the 100 most common Medicare inpatient stays and 30 common outpatient services, show significant variation across the country and within communities.
For example, average inpatient charges for services a hospital may provide in connection with a joint replacement range from a low of $5,300 at a hospital in Ada, Okla., to a high of $223,000 at a hospital in Monterey Park, Calif. Even within the same geographic area, hospital charges for similar services can vary significantly. For example, average inpatient hospital charges for services that may be provided to treat heart failure range from a low of $21,000 to a high of $46,000 in Denver, Colo., and from a low of $9,000 to a high of $51,000 in Jackson, Miss.