An analysis of medical billing codes explains a lot about healthcare costs

Health care is expensive–that’s no surprise.

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But, how expensive? And what kinds of care cost the most? The answers will probably surprise you.

To get some insight into how the costs for care add up, this infographic shows an analysis of healthcare costs for different parts of the human body. The surprising part comes from which specific parts are associated with the largest price tag. It’s probably not what you would expect.

While care for the heart, lungs, and brain carry hefty costs--more than $30,000 each, on average--the highest price by far is associated with care for the spine and spinal cord. Major procedures related to this key part of the body total over $80,000!

That puts it a full $30,000 above the second highest-priced item, the knee and ankle, which runs just above $41,000 on average.

It seems that procedures dealing with the body’s movement and mobility tend to bring the highest costs, likely because of the fact that these procedures are often extensive and invasive, like a full knee replacement or reconstruction surgery.

One key takeaway, which probably won’t come as a huge shock to many readers, is that healthcare is expensive--incredibly so. Although some care is pretty much inevitable, this graphic does reinforce the overall importance of maintaining various body parts and adopting healthy habits. And the huge price tag also point to the reason why insurance costs continue to climb at the amount that insurance companies pay to providers is often astronomical.

Adding up the costs for each of the body parts shown (or group of parts), the full cost for care of all parts combined totals more than $600,000.

The data for this infographic comes from an analysis of more than 150,000 records provided in an analysis of Medicare spending. Cost records were categorized according to medical billing codes and then translated into specific, correlated body parts.

These costs were then added together and averaged over the number of individual records for each specific medical code from each provider included in the data. The original data was drawn from records of the top 100 most common medical billing codes and those codes were categorized into fifteen individual body parts or groups of parts.

Some basic treatments were left out of the analysis like care for diseases such as pneumonia.

Records came from hospitals, clinics, and specialists all over the country.

Medical billing codes and costs for coverage more from this infographic of HealthCare.com below

Medical Billing Codes The Cost of Care for the Human Body, Part by Part [INFOGRAPHIC] Illustration | The CheckUp by HealthCare.com