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Research Letter
January 17, 2017

Variation in the Ratio of Physician Charges to Medicare Payments by Specialty and Region

Author Affiliations
  • 1Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland

Copyright 2017 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.

JAMA. 2017;317(3):315-318. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.16230

Nearly all physicians charge more than the Medicare program actually pays (herein referred to as “excess charges”), with complete discretion to determine the amount charged. High excess charges can impose financial burdens on uninsured patients and privately insured patients using out-of-network physicians.1,2 Although some out-of-network physicians may offer discounts from their full charges, many patients receive unexpected medical bills.3 A national study was conducted to understand the extent and variation of physician excess charges.

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