Americans pay significantly more for medical services than residents living in 11 other countries with highly developed healthcare systems, according to a new comparative price report (PDF) compiled by the International Federation of Health Plans.
The survey, according to the federation, was conducted to help member insurance plans understand why costs are higher in some countries than in others. The study looked at 14 common services and procedures and found that U.S. residents pay more for everything from delivery of babies to hip-replacement surgery. The average cost of delivering a baby in the U.S. was $8,435, compared with $2,147 in Germany and $2,667 in Canada. Hospital stays had an even greater margin of expense for U.S. residents. The average cost for a stay at a U.S. hospital ranged from $14,427 to $45,902 compared with $1,679 in Spain and $7,707 in Canada.
Costs were driven largely by provider fees, not differences in care, the survey found. "The total cost of care in each country is obviously driven very directly by the fees charged by the doctors, hospitals and drug companies in that country," said Tom Sackville, CEO of the International Federation of Health Plans.
For the study, the federation compared healthcare prices in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the U.S.