Study: Uninsured ranks could be much lower

I know, you do everything you can to qualify patients for government programs when they're uninsured and need care. Despite that, uninsured patients continue to generate high bad debt levels for providers; in fact, according to the American Hospital Association, the industry provided $31.2 billion in uncompensated care in 2006.

Millions of patients are slipping through screens designed to hook patients up with government programs, according to research by the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation. For example, one in four who are eligible for Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Program aren't enrolled, a total of about 12 million people.

Of course, the problem doesn't lie just with the provider's eligibility screening process. Often, the uninsured are overwhelmed by the administrative requirements involved in applying for such programs, while current enrollees frequently are dropped when they don't fill out renewal forms. Meanwhile, a 2005 law requiring applicants to show proof of citizenship to be eligible has also led to delays in enrollment for many citizens, foundation researchers said.

To learn more about the report:
- read this InsideARM article

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