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Why Are Healthcare Prices Different Depending on Where You Are?

Do you know how much a visit to your doctor will cost you? Most people think that it depends on what's wrong with you and what it will take to fix the problem, but did you know that there is another factor that determines how much you will pay your doctor?

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What Determines Healthcare Costs?

A new study released by the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) says that what you pay your doctor is often dependent upon where you live as much as what you got done. That means if you undergo a prenatal ultrasound in Athens and then have the same procedure done in Macon, then you could wind up paying almost two times as much for the procedure in Macon than you did in Athens. But why?

Why Are Healthcare Prices Different Depending on Where You Are?

The report published in the medical journal Health Affairs didn't give any reasons for the regional price differences that it found. However, many experts have theories to explain this strange phenomenon. Higher prices in certain areas may actually indicate a shortage of providers that can provide that particular medical service. If that is the case, then the higher price could attract new physicians to an area where their services are needed. Some experts also theorize that price variations in medical services might also be linked to the cost of living in certain areas.

Amazingly, some medical services actually don't vary in price too much. For example, acupuncture has been identified as a procedure that has a stable price from state to state, but imaging and radiology scans often have prices that fluctuate wildly depending on where you are.

Have you noticed a medical procedure that costs more in one place than in others? Do you think these variable prices are fair? Tell us about it on Facebook and Twitter.

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