Joint replacement prices at the most costly California hospitals plunged by one-third after the state required its workers and retirees to pay out of pocket all costs above a “reference price” of $30,000 for orthopedic surgery, a new study said.
The average cost of joint replacement among high-priced hospitals dropped to $28,465 after the California Public Employees' Retirement System made the change in 2011, wrote University of California researchers James Robinson and Timothy Brown in the journal Health Affairs. That's down from $43,308 the prior year.
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