Anesthesiology, emergency department markups rose dramatically in recent years: 4 study findings

Hospitals have significantly marked up the prices for anesthesiology services in the past several years, according to a study published Nov. 11 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers examined how much markup ratios changed across 2,042 U.S. hospitals from 2012 to 2016. They studied emergency department and anesthesia services — two areas where surprise billing is prone to occur — using internal medicine as a reference.

Four insights:

1. The markup ratio for anesthesiology rose from 6.1 to 7.4. This means that for every $100 in Medicare reimbursement, hospitals charged out-of-network-patients $740, whereas before, they charged out-of-network patients $610 for every $100 in Medicare reimbursement.

2. The markup ratio in anesthesiology increased at an adjusted annual growth rate on Medicare reimbursement of 32 percent.

3. The markup ratio for emergency medicine increased from 3.9 to 5.1, representing an adjusted annual growth rate on Medicare reimbursement of 28 percent.

4. In contrast, the internal medicine markup ratio increased from 2.1 to 2.4, representing an adjusted annual growth rate of 7 percent.

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