Study: Uncompensated care could hit $57B this year

It's looking like uncompensated care for the 77 million Americans lacking insurance during all or part of this year could add up to $57 billion, according to a study published by the journal Health Affairs. According to the study's analysis, the government absorbs as much as three-quarters of the cost ($42.9 billion), physicians underwrite another $7.8 billion by donating time and giving up profits, and hospitals absorb $6.3 billion.

Despite these burdens, cost-shifting to the insured to pay for uncompensated care has a very minor impact on private insurance premiums, hitting 1.7 percent at most, the researchers conclude. Hospitals, they found, don't raise prices to private health plans to offset uncompensated care, which has stayed stable at about 6 percent of hospital costs for many years despite an ongoing increase in the percentage of people insured.

To learn more about this research:
- read t his Modern Healthcare article (reg. req.)

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