The words rolled from Nancy Pelosi’s mouth like a volcanic eruption in the middle of a subdivision. “…[we] have to pass the bill, to find out what’s in it.” Truth be told, only time will tell what the impact of the Affordable Care Act will be; however, speculation may give us an idea as to how this will play out for us average workin’ folks.
For years there has been a misconception that hospitals have to provide care whether the patient is insured or not. There are nuances to this. One of which, is that this applies to hospitals and other providers that receive federal funds. Most hospitals do receive federal funds. Another misconception is that these hospitals have to treat you. In reality, these hospitals only have to provide you care that gets a patient stable. There is no requirement to treat your condition to completion. So, you go to the hospital for a heart attack or other life threatening condition that would likely require weeks of recovery and with insurance you will likely be kept there until providers believe you are healthy enough to be released. Without insurance, treating a patient to “stability” may just require a couple pills, some doctor stuff and batta bing batta boom, later that afternoon you’re stable.
So people who don’t have insurance may high outrageous medical bills as a result of any treatment they received. Most of these costs are considerably lowered through collection settlements, long-term monthly payments or “losses” the hospital will recognize shortly after treatment. Where do these losses go? It’s not less salary to doctors and health care professionals. It’s not from switching to generic tongue suppressors or floor cleaner. Of course not. These costs are passed on to other consumers (or patients) in the costs of their treatment.
Now, apply the health care mandate to that. Let’s just assume for the sake of argument that every person will pay their monthly premium under their health insurance policy. To get an affordable monthly premium, there will be a lot more people opting for a lower policy (referred to as a “bronze” package) which carries a much higher deductible—some as high as $10,000. Before an insured receives any benefit to being insured he must incur the cost of his deductible plus the costs of monthly premiums in medical bills. The majority of individuals seeking treatment will not incur $10,000 for a standard trip to the ER that involves a few tests, some medicine, and a lollipop. Well, that person who has insurance gets a bill for $8000 from the ER—what happens next? Well, obviously the checkbook bounced itself right out the window for you. Your credit card made a screeching laugh each time it ran through the machine.
Get real. The hospital knows it’s not getting that $8000 back. Like any other for-profit entity it has pre-determined the percentage of non-payments of the total accounts receivables and set medical costs accordingly. So, the cost of care didn’t go down. The outstanding medical bill on your credit report isn’t affected. And people aren’t incentivized to use preventative measures to reduce the overall costs of individual care.
You can’t even imagine what impact this will have on your care and recovery after an auto accident in North Carolina. If you’ve been hurt in an auto accident, now more than ever you need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to get help. Call the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo right now at 877-333-1000.