What Factors Affect Inpatient Costs?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 10 January 2020
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Some factors that affect inpatient costs are prescription medications, the type of hospital, and the length of a patient’s stay. Prescription medications can be expensive, especially if they are new or rare or must be administered in large quantities. The type of hospital also factors into the final price of inpatient costs because some hospitals charge more than others. Lastly, the type of illness a person has also affects his or her inpatient costs because of the various equipment needed.

Every medication that a patient needs factors into the inpatient costs. Each medication and the amount is kept track of on a running bill to give the patient when he or she checks out. The costs of inpatient care can vary significantly. For example, if a patient needs only two generic medications that are cheap to manufacture, his or her bill might be much cheaper than someone who needed five expensive cancer medications with no generic form available.

Studies show that teaching hospitals are usually more expensive than community hospitals. In fact, being treated at a teaching hospital in the United States, for example, can add as much as 30 percent to a person’s inpatient costs. Teaching hospitals are a valuable asset, however, and must exist and thrive to educate medical students and allow them to enter the workforce on their own.


How long a patient must stay at a hospital directly impacts his or her inpatient costs. Most hospitals charge a flat fee for each day a person stays, but this fee might be discounted if a patient stays for an extended period. The fee is often added to depending on the type of room the patient stays in; for example, sharing a room is cheaper than paying for a private room. In addition, rooms in certain areas of the hospital may cost more. For example, a room in intensive care or another part of the hospital where patients are constantly monitored may cost more than a regular stay in a hospital.

The type of illness or injury a person has influences the cost of a hospital stay. It is well known that some diseases and injuries simply cost loss on average than others. For example, someone with a broken back will have a less expensive bill than someone who has open heart surgery. Surgeries in particular are expensive because the patient is billed from multiple specialists and for any drugs used for sedation.


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