Hospitals are cutting back on their charity programs to promote insurance coverage
As more people throughout the U.S. gain access to health insurance coverage, many hospitals in the country are beginning to revise how their charity programs work. These programs are designed to provide those that cannot afford medical care with the care they need, relieving them of financial burden. The problem, however, is that some hospitals believe that those making use of these charity programs could have easily obtained insurance coverage, but chose not to for philosophical reasons. As a result, some hospitals have begun scaling back their charity programs.
Those eligible for subsidized insurance coverage could be exploiting charitable care
There is a concern that such programs are discouraging low-income consumers from purchasing health insurance coverage through state-based exchanges. These exchanges are designed to give people access to affordable insurance coverage. For those that cannot afford insurance, the federal government offers subsidies that can make coverage significantly less expensive. Those that are eligible for subsidized coverage but still taking advantage of hospital charity programs may be placing hospitals under a significant degree of financial stress.
Some hospitals are beginning to refuse charitable care to those without insurance
Most of the country’s hospitals are still trying to figure out what to do about the situation. The majority of those using charity programs are not likely abusing these programs in any serious way. Some hospitals, such as the Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, will be refusing to provide charitable care to those that refuse to purchase health insurance coverage. Others are taking time to inform those that receive charitable care of insurance exchanges, pointing them to resources that could make the acquisition of insurance coverage easier.
Charity programs represent a major financial loss for hospitals throughout the country
Hospital charity programs have helped provide millions of people with medical care for several years. Over the past decade, the cost of medical care has become significantly inflated. For those that cannot afford care, these charity programs offer financial liberation, but they also account for a significant expense on behalf of the hospital offering charitable care.