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Hospital charges keep on climbing: Medicare data shines light on changes in Chattanooga, nationally

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) - There's one clear fact about the murky, ever-shifting world of hospital charges:

They always get higher.

And the speed with which they can rise is revealed in a trove of new Medicare data, released last week, that shows how much hospitals across the nation bill for their most common procedures.

In the Chattanooga region, for example, hospitals increased charges for most of their treatments between 2011 and 2012 -- by 10, 20 and even more than 30 percent, in some cases.

This is the second year that Medicare -- the federal health insurance program for people 65 or older -- has released the hospital billing data, which previously had been kept under wraps.

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