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IFHP study reveals disparity in medical costs around the globe

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NEW YORK, March 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The International Federation of Health Plans today released its 2012 Comparative Price Report, detailing its annual survey of medical costs per unit. Designed to showcase the variation in healthcare costs around the world, the report examines the price of medical procedures, tests, scans and treatments in 12 countries, as well as the costs of six widely-prescribed drugs. The survey data showed that the United States continues to have the highest prices of those countries surveyed for both medical procedures and drugs.

For example, the average cost for a hospital day is $429 in Argentina, $665 in South Africa and an average of $4,287 in the U.S. A diagnostic procedure such as a colonoscopy will cost from an average of $413 in Argentina to $893 in the United Kingdom and $1,185 in the United States. The survey also found that the cost of a widely prescribed drug for depression, Cymbalta, can range from $47 in the France to $176, the average cost in the U.S.

As in prior surveys, the differential between unit prices was greatest for surgical procedures. One of the highest differentials was for C-sections: The range ran from $1,541 in Argentina to an average of $15,041 in the United States.

IFHP will host a conference call and Webinar with Chief Executive Tom Sackville at 10 a.m. PDT / 1 p.m. EDT on Tues., March 26, to discuss the findings. Details for joining the conference call and Webinar follow at the end of this news release.

"With the cost and availability of healthcare being an important topic around the world, it's essential that we not only examine the disparities that exist, but also why and how certain gaps do exist," said IFHP's Sackville.

Costs examined in the study included those from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and the United States. The data for the report was gathered from IFHP member organizations in each country. 

The IFHP was founded in 1968 by a group of health fund industry leaders, and is now the leading global network of the industry, with nearly 100 member companies across 25 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, visit www.ifhp.com.


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