Surgical costs difficult to compare, vary widely

Surgical procedure prices are difficult to determine beforehand and vary widely, according to a study from the University of Iowa. Researchers compared the cost of prostate cancer surgery at 100 hospitals nationwide, and found it varied from $10,100 to $135,000, with an average cost of nearly $35,000. Of the hospitals that provided cost information, only 10 included anesthesia and surgery costs, and only three provided a hard copy of surgical charges, making it more difficult for patients to compare costs. "Such variability in pricing can produce significant confusion for consumers who are accustomed to the rules of free-market economics, which equate higher fees with higher quality," the researchers wrote. "Unfortunately, in healthcare, this has not been found to be true." Study announcement