Without Medicaid,Hospitals May Pay Patient Premiums

Uncompensated care was supposed to be a thing of the past, but it's persisting in many states not expanding Medicaid eligibility. As an alternative, for some high-cost uninsured patients, hospitals are turning to a new option.

Uncompensated care was supposed to be a thing of the past, but it's persisting in many states not expanding Medicaid eligibility. As an alternative, for some high-cost uninsured patients, hospitals are turning to a new option.

In his 32 years working in insurance operations at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Pat Riley has seen the problem of uninsured patients ebb and flow — with poor health outcomes for individuals and uncompensated costs for the health system — and the Great Recession brought another surge.

Now director of insurance at Forrest General, the 512-bed flagship of Forrest Health, Riley is optimistic about the potential of the Affordable Care Act. While Mississippi, like 23 other states, isn’t expanding Medicaid eligibility to low-income childless adults, those earning above 100 percent of the federal poverty level can get premium and cost-sharing subsidies for exchange plans — a message that Riley and Forrest Health try to hammer home to the residents of greater Hattiesburg through participation in health fairs, town halls, public service announcements and outreach to patients.

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Source: Healthcare Payer News