Mass. hospitals want insurers to collect high deductibles

Sure, virtually everyone in Massachusetts should end up with health insurance under the state's new health reforms. But for many patients, those reforms come with sky-high deductibles in the $5,000 plus per year range. Fearing they'll be left with an extraordinary number of unpaid bills under this new scheme, the state's hospitals want to convince state legislators to make health plans do some of the collecting. This is virtually unheard-of in the traditional insurance world--though a similar bill almost passed in Rhode Island--but as consumer-directed and high-deductible health plans grow more popular, it may be a sign of things to come.

Under a bill filed by State Sen. Richard Moore (D), insurance carriers would be required to explain what financial obligations patients faced prior to the patients getting care. More controversially, the carriers would also be required to collect co-payments, deductibles and co-insurance payments that rise above the $2,000 level. The Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, for its part, says the bill "makes no sense," given collecting payment has always been the provider's responsibility.

To find out more about the legislation:
- read this Boston Business Journal article

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