Here’s your Obamacare: Hospitals now demanding patients pay up front before receiving treatment
Deductibles are soaring under Obamacare, and many U.S. hospitals are now attempting to collect medical payments before services are even rendered, according to new reports. The financial burden of medical care has increased so much as a result of Obamacare — just as predicted — that hospitals can now clearly see the writing on the wall: Many more people than ever before will be unwilling or unable to pay their medical bills.
According to CNN Money, Americans today are having to foot a much higher percentage of their medical bills than ever before due to ever-increasing deductibles. Five years ago, for instance, an individual, employer-sponsored policy had a deductible of just over $800. Today, that same policy carries a deductible of about $1,217, a rate more than 50 percent higher.
Similar increases have occurred for family plan deductibles, which the 2014 Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research & Educational Trust report says have increased by 31 percent overall. Since 2006, family plan deductibles have nearly doubled, jumping from an average of about $1,034 per family to $1,947.
Obamacare deductibles significantly higher than private coverage
For those who didn’t previously have healthcare coverage but now have Obamacare, the deductible sticker shock is even more substantial. Many lower-level enrollees, according to CNN Money, including those who signed up for “bronze” and “silver” plans, pay deductibles ranging anywhere from about $2,000 to upwards of $5,000.
“The bronze plans are scaring a lot of administrators because the patient liability is so large,” stated Debra Lowe, administrator director of revenue cycle at the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University, about the travesty of Obamacare deductibles. “Patients are unaware they have this high deductible.”
Since the consumer cost of Obamacare is so much higher than what is typical of private insurance, and because this cost is applied to some of the poorest members of society, many Obamacare patients are simply dodging their hospital bills. And these hospitals, in an attempt to recuperate at least some of the losses, are responding by attempting to bill patients early.
“We are trying to minimize the after-service bill shock and get them into financial assistance or some other program for more affordable care,” said Andy Scianimanico, vice president for revenue cycle at Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, the parent company of Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Obamacare enrollees having to take out loans to pay medical bills
The irony of Obamacare is that it has turned out to be anything but affordable. Deductible payments are so high, in some instances, that enrollees are actually having to take out loans to pay for medical treatments. Isn’t this scenario the type for which Obamacare was supposedly created to alleviate? Wasn’t the whole idea to make healthcare more accessible to the poor?
Obviously, this is not the case, no matter what the media pundits would have us all believe. Obamacare is pulling the noose tighter around the neck of our nation’s medical system, making it increasingly more difficult for this system to even function at a basic level. Consequently, heathcare providers are now treating all patients as if they are about to eat the meal without paying the bill, the medical equivalent of a restaurant dine-and-dash.
“[I]t’s far more difficult to get that $2,900 from an individual patient than it is from the Medicare program or from Blue Cross Blue Shield,” said Richard Gundling, vice president of the trade group Healthcare Financial Management Association.
A report by Gundling’s group states bluntly, “Today’s high deductibles are tomorrow’s bad debt.”
Sources for this article include: