Minnesota hospitals see 15% drop in charity care costs


Hospitals in Minnesota are spending less to cover free and discounted care as more people gain insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, according to an analysis from the Star Tribune.

The analysis found that the 10 largest hospitals in the state last year spent about $236 million on charity care — a decline of $43 million, or 15 percent, from 2013.

Among the 10 largest hospitals in the analysis, Minneapolis-based Allina Health saw charity costs drop by $14.7 million, or 50 percent, between 2013 and 2015, while Rochester-based Mayo Clinic saw charity care costs decline by 14 percent, or $11.4 million, between 2013 and 2015.

Matt Anderson, senior vice president of policy and strategy at the Minnesota Hospital Association, told the Star Tribune less money for charity care could free up hospital funds for things like developing more community programs and other health promotion efforts.

But hospitals said some of the savings are being consumed by bad debt, meaning patients with high deductibles who aren't paying their medical bills, according to the report. The Star Tribune analysis found that the 10 largest hospitals' expenses from bad debt in 2015 were down from 2014 but still up from 2013.



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