IFHP Survey of Medical Costs by Unit Shows Price Differences of More Than 300 Percent Between Countries

By International Federation Of Health Plans, PRNE
Sunday, November 21, 2010

Report Provides Actual Prices by Common Medical Services, Procedures & Drugs Across 12 Countries

SAN FRANCISCO, November 22, 2010 - The International Federation of Health Plans today released its 2010
Comparative Price Report detailing its annual survey of medical costs per
unit. The study is done to help member plans better understand why health
care costs are so much higher in some countries than others. Prices for the
same medical procedures, tests, scans and treatments vary widely from country
to country. The survey data showed that average U.S. prices for procedures
were once again the highest of those in the 12 countries surveyed for nearly
all of the 14 common services and procedures reviewed.

For example, total hospital and physician costs for delivering a baby are
$2,147 in Germany, $2,667 in Canada, and an average of $8,435 in the United
. The survey shows that the cost for a hospital stay is $1,679 in
Spain, $7,707 in Canada, but these costs can range from an average of $14,427
to $45,902
in the United States. The survey also found that the cost of a
widely prescribed drug like Nexium can range from $30 in the United Kingdom
to $186, the average cost in the United States.

In addition to providing comparative cost data across the countries, the
survey provides information about the wide range of costs being charged in
the United States for common services, procedures and drugs. One example from
the survey is hip replacement surgery which cost $12,737 in the Netherlands,
but ranged from a low of $21,247 to a high of $75,369 in the United States.
Five percent of U.S. prices are higher than $75,369.

The differential between unit prices was greatest for surgery, according
to the survey data. One of the highest differentials was for cataract surgery
hospital and physician costs. The range for cataract surgery ran from $1,667
in Spain to an average of $14,764 in the United States.

IFHP will host a conference call and Webinar with Chief Executive Tom
at 9:30 am Pacific Time today to discuss the findings. Details for
joining the conference call and Webinar follow at the end of this news

"As countries around the world look at the impact of their health care
systems on their economies, the cost per unit of services, procedures and
drugs is a key factor that needs to be understood. The total cost of care in
each country is obviously driven very directly by the fees charged by the
doctors, hospitals, and drug companies in that country," said IFHP's
Sackville. "We hope the release of this updated report on our price survey
will be a key step forward in creating a more informed base of knowledge for
all our member countries and allow them to better assess the impact of unit
prices on the cost of health care."

The IFHP's survey covers current 2010 provider fees and drug costs in 12
countries. Items examined include angiograms, CT and MRI scans, office
visits, newborn deliveries, appendectomies, cataract surgeries, hip
replacements, hospital stays, bypass surgeries and angioplasties. Costs for
three widely prescribed drugs - Lipitor, Nexium and Plavix - were also

Countries studied included Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, France,
Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, United Kingdom and
United States. The data for the report was gathered from IFHP member
organizations in each country.

The International Federation of Health Plans was founded in 1968 by a
group of health fund industry leaders in fifteen countries, and is now the
leading global network of the industry, with nearly 100 member companies
across 30 countries. IFHP aims to assist in the maintenance of high ethical
and professional standards throughout the industry.

For a copy of the report and more information about IFHP, please visit

Following are details for the conference call and Webinar to discuss the
report findings:

    WHO:   Tom Sackville, CEO of IFHP
    WHEN:  9:30 a.m. Pacific time, Monday, Nov. 22
    WHERE: Remarks and Q&A session via conference call at
           +1-877-236-3560 (U.S. and Canadian callers)
           +1-763-488-3284 (callers outside United States and Canada)
           Conference ID: 26715815

           Presentation visuals online at: https://www.livemeeting.com/cc/

           Webinar access notes:
           First Time Users:
           To save time before the meeting, check your system  to make sure
           it is ready to use Microsoft Office Live Meeting.

           Unable to join the meeting? Follow these steps:
           1. Copy this address and paste it into your web browser:
           2. Copy and paste the required information:
              Meeting ID: Q2ZWFK
              Entry Code: attendee
              Location: https://www.livemeeting.com/cc/edelman
           If you still cannot enter the meeting, contact support

Gary Karr, +1-202-326-1745, Gary.karr at edelman.com, for International Federation of Health Plans

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