Hospitals Asking Patients to Pay Up Before Treatment

Hospitals had more than $35 billion in uncompensated care costs in 2015. Most of that was comprised of bills left unpaid by patients.

To fight that, hundreds of hospitals nationwide are asking patients to pay at least some of the bill before they’re treated.

They’re working out prepayment plans, offering zero-interest loans and dangling discounts for early payoffs.

Insurance analysts find that even though there’s more coverage under Obamacare, people are increasingly unable to pay their bills.

Why so many unpaid bills from patients?

Even though more people are able to get insurance, they often go with policies with low premiums but high deductibles that they can’t cover once they need care.

Analysts say that even if Obamacare – the Affordable Care Act, formally -- is repealed, these high-deductible plans will remain … especially as medical costs rise faster than inflation and wages.

One healthcare industry group’s survey found that a majority of Texans think it’s important to provide people comparative price information – and say they want to see the numbers before they get treatment.

Government statistics show the average deductible the most popular low-cost plans is $6,000 for an individual. That’s 18 percent higher since 2014. Family deductibles are more than twice that.

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