Texas Hospitals Top the Nation in Marking Up Patients' Prices, Study Shows

Patients in Texas hospitals pay a higher healthcare markup than in any other U.S. state, according to a Texas Standard report that cites research from Johns Hopkins University.

A recent study by the university looked at markup ratios, or the fees hospitals charge for a service compared to the “allowable amount” the government determines it's worth under Medicare. Texas topped the nation for that ratio, with Brownsville-Harlingen, Laredo and El Paso the places where it's highest.

“The sticker prices of a lot of Texas hospitals are the highest in the country,” Dr. Marty Makary, one of the study researchers told the Texas Standard. “When we look at those actual prices, we don’t know what they mean.”

While hospital bills are frequently negotiable, patients don't always know that's the case. What's more, many go into the hospital not knowing the cost of the services they're receiving, said Makary, who's a surgeon and professor at Johns Hopkins.

“Imagine going on a travel website … and the airlines maybe would argue they can’t give you a price,” Makary told the Texas Standard. “The lack of transparency … feeds price gouging.”

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