Just a Little Off the Top

When Matt Williamson took his son to be circumcised, he found a problem – not with the procedure itself, but the cost. His local hospital did not reveal the price ahead of time and charged him more than $3,000 for the procedure.

This is yet another example of the lack of transparency in medical pricing. Hospitals charging much more for routine tests and procedures is a fact, showing how little price competition there is in the medical marketplace. Patients with high-deductible plans have plenty of incentive to shop around to find a good price. Growing competition for lab work and scans has prompted hospitals to increasingly lower their cash prices to below what is billed to insurance companies.

The average price for a hospital circumcision is $2,000. Many insurance plans say the procedure is elective and won’t cover it. The procedure can be done within 10 days of birth, and the health benefits outweigh any risks. At UCLA, the billed price for circumcision is $1,205, while the cash price is $844. A Culver City clinic called Gentle Circumcision has the all-inclusive price of $175, handling about 20 babies each day. They charge for the doctor’s time and any supplies – nothing else. The methods are the same as at the hospital, but there is a lot less overhead.

Williamson challenged the circumcision cost, requesting a lower price, but his appeal was denied. There is a wide range of prices out there for all procedures, so it is very important to shop around if you have a high deductible insurance plan.
Lazarus, David. “Cutting healthcare costs shouldn’t be this painful.” Business. Los Angeles Times, 24 Jun 2016. Web. 26 Jun 2016.

Leave a Reply


Be sure to include your first and last name.

If you don't have one, no problem! Just leave this blank.