NY-area hospitals see increased number of uninsured immigrants

Hospitals in the New York area are seeing an increased number of uninsured or underinsured immigrants, a trend that is proving to be an enormous financial burden. For example, the 29 hospitals in the Connecticut Hospital Association are estimated to have spent $93.3 million in 2006 on uncompensated care. This is compared to the $78 million spent on uncompensated care in 2002.

Given their situation, it's little surprise that immigrants are showing up at hospital emergency departments. For one thing, many immigrants find that there is a shortage of specialists willing to see them, or any other low-income patients for that matter. Meanwhile, for illegal immigrants, Medicaid will cover emergency care, but virtually no other services. 

Under these circumstances, hospitals often provide services knowing that they may have to absorb the costs themselves if they are not covered. One particular hospital, Greenwich Hospital, estimates that it loses between $8 million and $10 million per year because of charity care, or uncompensated medical care.

To learn more about this problem:
-read this New York Times piece