Why are hospitals so expensive

Health care costs: hospital stays have never been more expensive

A hospital stay in Germany is more expensive than ever before. Each case cost an average of 3960 euros in the past year. That was 2.5 percent more than in 2010, as the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden announced on the basis of preliminary results.

The total costs of the German hospitals in 2011 amounted to 83.4 billion euros. Around 18.3 million cases were treated as inpatients in the hospital.

The hospital costs essentially consist of personnel costs and material costs. The former rose by 4.3 percent, the latter rose by 4.4 percent.

In addition, there are the expenses for the so-called training fund (1.1 billion euros, 2.7 percent more). Another 1.2 billion euros were accounted for by taxes and interest as well as costs for training centers.

The total costs also included expenses for non-inpatient services amounting to 10.8 billion euros. This includes costs for the outpatient clinic as well as for scientific research and teaching. Purely inpatient hospital care alone devoured around 72.6 billion euros.

The average costs per case varied greatly in the individual federal states. They were lowest in Brandenburg at 3570 euros, and highest in Hamburg at 4628 euros.

"The differences between countries are structural," explained Ute Bölt, an employee of the Federal Statistical Office. "They are influenced by the range of care as well as the type and severity of the diseases treated."