Worldwide price survey puts U.S. medical, hospital costs at top


A study comparing prices for hospital stays, physician office visits, drugs and other medical procedures in developed countries shows U.S. prices among the most expensive.

The International Federation of Health Plans, a London-based network of 100 insurance companies in 30 developed nations, annually looks at prices, and last week published its 2011 Comparative Price Report on medical and hospital fees by country.

Among the results: Cost per day for hospital charges averaged $3,949 in the U.S., followed by Chile at $1,552. The average hospital cost for a U.S. patient’s total stay was $15,734; Germany was next at $5,004.


For appendectomies, the total facility and physician costs averaged $13,003 in the U.S., followed by Switzerland at $5,840.

A physician fee for a routine office visit averaged $89 in the U.S., also followed by Switzerland, at $64.

U.S. was second on the list for total facility and physician costs for cataract surgery, averaging $3,748. Switzerland led the list at $5,310; Australia was No. 3 at $3,591.

Scott Hauge, president of the San Francisco-based Small Business Coalition, told coalition members this week that the survey and other indicators of growing medical costs are “not good news for small businesses that are struggling to continue to provide health insurance and why health insurance access and cost is the number one issue again for small businesses in our survey.”


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