Monday, June 2, 2014

How expensive is your hospital?

I had no idea how expensive my hospital, Lahey Health (formerly known as Lahey Clinic) is compared to other hospitals. Its one of those hidden numbers that your insurance company and hospital conspire to keep unknown as they negotiate rates and fees.

I live just outside Boston, which is home to a few big name hospitals, and refuse to go into the city for treatment. The traffic would drive me crazy. And if I am not feeling well, I refuse to deal with the traffic and feel like crap at the same time.

I have friends who went into the city for treatment and whined about all the traffic they sat in and how early in the day they would have to start to get to a 9am infusion. I just assumed all hospitals cost about the same - namely a hell of a lot because nothing is cheap around here.

But now I know... and drum roll... its 12%-40% less than the big hospitals with the fancy names in town. They have a strategy of creating a network of community hospitals where most patients can go for care leaving the big teaching hospital for the sickest people. (Guess which one I go to?) They have been expanding their network over recent years.

Here is a comparison of the costs from 2012 for an inpatient stay.

The two hospitals that are lower than Lahey are located away from metropolitan Boston.

I will say I am happy to learn my medical care is not straining my insurance plan as much as if I went in town. And I am happier to enjoy my 10-12 minute drive through back roads with no traffic to medical care.

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