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Health Care Costs Differ Wildly Among Women

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Published on : Oct 08, 2015

A new study has just made it incredibly clear that health care costs are not created equal for all.

The US Costliest Cities Index, conducted by enterprise health care management firm Castlight Health, evaluated several millions of health care claims to ascertain the prices of different critical health procedures for women in 30 of the most populated cities in the United States. The “price” of a health procedure is defined by Castlight as the employee cost sharing in addition to the amount of money paid by his or her employer. 

The study took a look at the prices of many procedures, including ob-gyn follow up visits, mammograms, human papilomavirus (HPV) tests, and preventive gynecological exams. 

Prices of these procedures in different cities varied. For instance, the average price of a preventive gynecological exam in San Francisco is US$ 214, as against the same procedure in Phoenix, where the cost is around US$ 111. 

However, the study also found that the cost of several procedures within the same city also varies and many times present a dramatic difference. For instance, a routine mammogram in Albany, New York, could be priced anywhere between US$ 292 and US$ 635.

Another alarming discovery made was that a woman in Philadelphia can pay anywhere from US$ 32 to US$ 626 for an HPV test and a mammogram can cost a woman in Dallas something between US$ 50 and US$ 1,045. 

Health care experts, unfortunately, are not surprised by this data. Founder of a national consumer health care advocacy group called Exhale Healthcare Advocates, Sarah O’Leary tells Yahoo Health that the arbitrary pricing strategies that have been set in place by different health care providers have turned massive pricing swings into the rule instead of an exception.