May 10, 2011

Hospitals left with $49 billion in unpaid tabs

A new study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shows that even higher income uninsured families are struggling to meet the high costs of health care.

According to the government report released May 10, 2011 (titled "The Value of Health Insurance: Few of the Uninsured Have Adequate Resources to Pay Potential Hospital Bills"), uninsured Americans (including those with incomes well above the poverty line) leave hospitals with unpaid tabs of up to $49 billion a year. The report states that every year, nearly 2 million uninsured Americans are hospitalized. With 58% of these hospital stays resulting in bills of more than $10,000, most uninsured people are unable to afford potential hospital bills. even the top 10% of uninsured families with the most assets are estimated to be able to pay the full bill for only half of potential hospital stays.

In the HHS press release, the HHS assistant secretary for planning and evaluation says "No family should bear the burden of being one illness or accident away from bankruptcy."

To read the HHS Press Release: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2011pres/05/20110510a.html

To read the full HHS Study: http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2011/ValueofInsurance/rb.shtml

To read the USA Today article about the study: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2011-05-09-uninsured-unpaid-hospital-bills_n.htm