Report Examines Health Care Cost Variations in Knee and Hip Replacement

Some hospitals across the U.S. charge tens of thousands of dollars more than others for the same medical procedures, even within the same metropolitan market, and their cost can vary by as much as 313%, depending on where the surgeries are performed, according to a report by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and Blue Health Intelligence. 

The report analyzed three years of independent BCBS companies’ claims data for typical knee and hip replacement surgeries to assess cost variations in 64 markets across the U.S.  The authors note that they reviewed typical knee and hip replacement procedures because they are among the fastest growing medical treatments in the U.S.  The report also cites a study published in the June 2014 issue of Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, which found that typical knee replacements more than tripled and typical hip replacements doubled between 1993 and 2009. 

The authors conclude that, as more consumers shop for healthcare, “insurance companies must use their data to empower consumers and employers with information that demonstrates cost and quality of doctors and hospitals and helps them find the highest value options for care.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report