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A photo of a hospital emergency room sign

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STATEWIDE — Hoosiers are paying among the highest prices in the U.S. for hospital care. That’s according to a new survey that has just been released.

A RAND survey found that Hoosiers are paying the 8th highest prices on average for healthcare at hospitals, and those numbers include people with employer-provided health insurance. The study blames hospital mergers and facility costs for the price increases, along with employers paying more for insurance premiums.

RAND Health Care Cost Analyst Brian Briscombe said these mergers and other factors in the environment of healthcare have put Hoosiers in a tough spot.

“If you don’t know the price of things, you’re kind powerless to shop around,” Briscombe said to WISH-TV. “You don’t really know how to shop around.”

Briscombe said rising hospital prices have also played a role in overall wages not increasing in Indiana like they should be.

“We get compensated partially by our salary and partially by our benefits,” Briscombe said. “If our benefits cost more and more, that just leaves less money left to pay your salary.”

The Indiana Hospital Association is disputing the numbers released by RAND, which is a non-partisan think tank. The IHA said in a statement that the report did not consider how hospitals in Indiana subsidize insurance companies’ low payments to doctors.

“RAND reports also do not take into account Indiana’s low Medicaid rates, which haven’t been raised in over 30 years and rank far below the national average at 12th lowest in the nation,” the statement said.

Briscombe said there is no “national solution” to the problem of high prices for healthcare at hospitals and that it has to be dealt with market by market.