Unpaid Hospital Bills on the Rise for High-Deductible Plan Members

Hospitals' bad debt levels have risen along with the number of patients enrolled in high-deductible health insurance plans, according to a Kaiser Health News report.

Hospital owners such as Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. have reported more bad debt pressure tied to high-deductible — also known as consumer-directed — plan enrollees. A number of providers are experiencing an increase in bad debt and charity care for patients with high-deductible plans, Caroline Steinberg, vice president for trends analysis at the American Hospital Association, told Kaiser Health News.

As of last year, 19 percent of all employer-covered workers were enrolled in a high-deductible plan, more than double the amount enrolled the year before, according to the report.

Although supporters of the high-deductible policies say they motivate consumers to avoid needless care, many people don't fully understand their plans and realize they aren't as covered as they thought at the hospital, Ms. Steinberg told Kaiser Health News.

More Articles on Health Insurance Plans:
Most Americans Don't Understand Health Insurance, Study Finds
Study: Poorer High-Deductible Plan Members May Skip Needed ED Care
Changing Paradigm of Point-of-Care Collections

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