Insured can't pay health bills

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, in Pennsylvania it is getting more difficult for insured patients to pay their health bills.

The struggling economy has made it harder for hospitals to collect money from patients who have lost their jobs - and their health insurance.  And as employers dump costs onto workers, so now are workers dumping costs onto hospitals.  Rising deductibles and cost-sharing rules mean that patients are increasingly faced with bills that would have been unusual for someone with insurance a few years ago.

Growing numbers of them can't pay, or won't.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, hospitals are reporting that total bad debt grew 12 percent, from $490 million in fiscal 2007 to nearly $550 million in fiscal 2008, at 36 area hospitals that responded to a 2009 survey by the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council of HAP, a hospital association that released the data this week. But bad debt from insured patients grew twice as fast: 28 percent, from $76 million to $97 million.

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(Source: Advisory Board Daily Briefing,, August 16, 2010; The Philadelphia Inquirer,, accessed August 16, 2010)