8 States with the Highest-Charging Hospitals

Most Americans know that a given medical service could cost a significantly different amount depending on where one receives the service, but only recently have cost data about healthcare charges become widely available and widely discussed. National Nurses United earlier this year evaluated US hospitals to find out how much they charge for a procedure versus the actual cost of performing the procedure.

Most Americans know that a given medical service could cost a significantly different amount depending on where one receives the service, but only recently have cost data about healthcare charges become widely available and widely discussed.

National Nurses United earlier this year evaluated US hospitals to find out how much they charge for a procedure versus the actual cost of performing the procedure. On average, they found US hospitals had a charge-to-cost ratio of 331% in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, the most recent year included in the report. That figure has been rising steadily for the past 15 years, according to the Institute for Health and Socioeconomic Policy, the research arm of National Nurses United.

However, that average number was easily surpassed by many hospitals. For instance, the 100th highest-charging hospital in the nation, Women & Children’s Hospital, in Lake Charles Louisiana, has a charge-to-cost ratio of 765%. And 99 hospitals charged higher mark-ups.

A full list of the top-charging hospitals can be found here. What follows is a list of the 8 states with the highest average charge-to-cost ratios. In some cases, states made the list because they have a large number of high-charging hospitals. However, some states had only a handful of high-charging hospitals, but those hospitals charged such high rates that they dragged the entire state onto the list.

Average Charge-to-Cost Ratio: 411.51%

Number of Hospitals: 176

Pennsylvania’s highest-charging hospital is Chestnut Hill Hospital, in Philadelphia, which has a charge-to-cost ratio of 1058%. The hospital, owned by Community Health Systems Inc., ranks ninth in the nation in charge-to-cost ratio. It’s one of 7 Pennsylvania hospitals in the Top 50 in the nation.

421.99%

Number of Hospitals: 93

Alabama is home to the hospital with the fifth-highest charge-to-cost ratio in the nation, Gadsen Regional Medical Center, a Community Health Systems Inc. hospital in Gadsen, AL. The 300-bed hospital had an average charge-to-cost ratio of 1128%. It’s one of 6 Alabama hospitals in the Top 50.

425.93%

Number of Hospitals: 73

Arizona appears to be a state without any major outliers, but simply higher costs generally. You have to go down to No. 15 to find the first Arizona hospital, Community Health Systems Inc.’s Western Arizona Regional Medical Center, in Bullhead City. That hospital has a 994% charge-to-cost ratio. It’s one of only 2 Arizona hospitals in the Top 100.

429.82%

Number of Hospitals: 116

Tennessee is somewhat similar to Arizona, in that you have to go all the way to No. 25 to find the first Tennessee hospital on the list of highest-charging hospitals. Lakeway Regional Hospital, in Morristown, wins that distinction with a 925% charge-to-cost ratio. The hospital is owned by Community Health Systems Inc. It’s one of 3 Tennessee hospitals in the Top 50.

447.94

Number of Hospitals: 28

Nevada has a relatively small number of hospitals, and those hospitals tend to have high charges compared to their costs. That said, the highest-charging hospital in the state is only the 61st highest-charging hospital in the nation. Spring Valley Hospital Medical Center, in Las Vegas, has a charge-to-cost ratio of 828%. It’s owned by Universal Health Services Inc.

450.89%

Number of Hospitals: 348

California’s most expensive hospital is Olympia Medical Center, in Los Angeles, which has a charge-to-cost ratio of 1034%. It ranks No. 12 in the nation. It’s one of 5 California hospitals in the Top 50 and 12 California hospitals in the Top 100.

555.36%

Number of Hospitals: 212

Although Florida’s average puts it second on this list, the state has the highest number of hospitals in the Top 50 (17) and the Top 100 (31) — by far. Orange Park Medical Center, in Orange Park, comes in at No. 3 in the nation, with a charge-to-cost ratio of 1139% at the HCA-owned hospital. Community Health Systems Inc.’s North Oskaloosa Medical Center, in Crestview, is not far behind, with an average charge-to-cost ratio of 1137%.

583.01%

Number of Hospitals: 73

The Garden State’s hospitals take first place when it comes to average charge-to-cost ratio. New Jersey also is home to the single highest-charging hospital in the US, Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center, in Secaucus, which charges 1192% of its costs, according to the report. Surprisingly it’s one of just 3 New Jersey hospitals in the Top 10.