Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Data Show Uninsured Typically Leave $49 Billion In Unpaid Health Bills Annually

A new report by the HHS published in USA Today states the high cost of the uninsured. The article states, "Uninsured Americans -- including those with incomes well above the poverty line -- leave hospitals with unpaid tabs of up to $49 billion a year," according to a study released by the Department of Health and Human Services. On average, the study found that uninsured families "pay only about 12% of their hospital bills in full." Researchers also found that most "uninsured people have 'virtually no' savings and that about a third have no financial assets."

Many Charity Hospitals On The Brink Of Failure. The AP reports that "many charity hospitals, already struggling with rising costs, are on the brink of failure because of looming budget cuts, increasing numbers of uninsured patients and a slow economic recovery." Approximately "800 of the nation's 5,000 hospitals" provide "the lion's share" of free care, "often located in the heart of poor communities and serving a large proportion of patients who don't have insurance or are on Medicaid." Since the beginning of the US recession "through mid-2009, the number of patients seeking free care at the hospitals increased 23 percent, according to the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems."

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