When 6 days of cancer screening and chemotherapy cost an Ohio man $83,900, TIME magazine investigated why.
The reason was easy to see: all of the treatment items he received were billed with enormous markups. For instance, "1 ACETAMINOPHE TABS 325 MG" was billed at $1.50. As we all know, tubs of 100 acetominophen tablets can be bought for $1.50, meaning the hospital slapped on a 10,000% markup.
The extreme markups continued through the bigger-ticket items. The hospital charged $15,000 for tests that would have been billed at only a few hundred dollars for Medicare patients.
Higher up the pricing scale, the patient, Sean Recchi, was charged $13,702 for an injection of cancer drug Rituxan. Hospitals pay $3,000-$4,000 for each injection, so Recchi was charged a markup of over 300%.
The hospital is a non-profit, but actually made a profit of $531 million in 2010. Its director is paid a salary of $1.8 million, a fact that Time mentions without comment, presumably implying that such pay scales are inappropriate for hospital executives.
The hospital defended itself by stating that its "billing and collection practices are similar to those of other major hospitals and academic medical centers."