Report: Several factors impact cost of routine care

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A variety of factors play into the cost of an office visit, according to the latest Healthcare Transparency Index from change:healthcare.

The Brentwood, Tenn.-based company’s latest quarterly index, released March 29, listed several of these factors:

  • Age: For check-ups and well visits, patients age 40 to 64 paid as much as 26 percent more per visit than 18 to 39-year-old patients. Of the 40- to 64-year-old group, internal medicine visits represented the greatest cost variance, with a low of $100 and a high of $225 per visit, according to the index.
  • “Retail” or “kiosk” vs. traditional office visits: Routine children’s physicals for camp, school and sports represented the biggest opportunity for savings, with a high of $160 at a primary care physician’s office vs. $29 at retail clinic.
  • Location: Change:healthcare compared costs in three mid-sized cities: Burlington, Vt., Memphis, Tenn., and Oklahoma City. Patients in Vermont paid the most for office visits and lab tests—for example, up to $40 for a strep test, compared to $12 for the test in other areas.
  • Specialty office appointments: Psychotherapy as a specialty showed the most variation by market among specialty medical care. Podiatry had the least variance, according to the index.

The Healthcare Transparency Index provides healthcare consumers with ongoing trends data about actual healthcare costs. The data are sourced from change:healthcare’s proprietary HIPAA-compliant database generated from client activity, the company stated.

This quarter’s Healthcare Transparency Index included data derived from more than 2 million medical claims, representing more than 109,000 patients in 50 states during a 12-month period. The report’s pricing and behavioral content was derived from the change:healthcare Cost Transparency Solution, according to change:healthcare.