Will Surprise Hospital Costs Be Outlawed?

By Susan Jaffe This Kaiser Health News story produced in collaboration with USA Today After Lois Frarie, a 93-year-old retired teacher from Monterey, Calif., spent four days at a local hospital while being treated for a broken elbow and pelvis, she went to a nearby nursing home to build up her strength. But her family was stunned to find out that they would have to pay thousands of dollars up front since two of the days she spent in the …

The Takeaway: Hospital Lets Artists Paint, Perform to Pay Medical Bills

A Bronx hospital is launching a program that lets artistic patients knock $40 off their medical bills for every hour they spend providing some other “creative activity or service” at the hospital. The Lincoln Art Exchange, at the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, is essentially a bartering program where actors, musicians, dancers, writers and visual artists can trade their talents for medical care.

An Appendectomy Costs How Much? $1,500 to $182,000 Study Shows

It was a simple question: How much do hospitals charge to remove an appendix? The answer stunned researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. As the Associated Press reported, the researchers found that California hospitals charge anywhere from the price of a refrigerator to the cost of a house. For this common procedure, patient bills varied from as little as $1,529 to as much as $182,955, with an average of $33,000 — and experts worry that the situation isn’t …