By Melanie Evans

May 8th, 2022

Some hospitals grappling with rising nurse salaries are seeking to raise prices by up to 15%, touching off contract fights with health insurers and businesses and threatening higher premiums.

HCA Healthcare Inc. and Universal Health Services Inc. are among the hospitals asking health plans to pay them more for care to offset mounting nurse costs.

Neither of the chains would specify the price increases they are requesting, but people familiar with negotiations say some hospitals are asking to increase their prices by 7.5% to 15%.

The requests are more than the 4% to 6% price increases that hospitals typically seek, according to employers and insurers. The hospitals usually won an average 3% price increase in recent years, according to Altarum, a nonprofit that does healthcare research.

If hospitals win heftier price increases they are seeking this year, that would likely result in higher premiums for employers and workers.

But insurer and employer groups, which push for lower-cost contracts or negotiate them on behalf of coalitions of businesses, are rejecting the requests. The groups say the priciest hospitals can absorb higher labor costs without raising their rates.

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