How the ACA and Medicaid Expansion Are Affecting Patient Bad Debt at Hospitals, Pathology Groups, and Clinical Laboratories

The amount of patient debt healthcare providers face depends on multiple, complex factors, including whether they engaged in Medicaid Expansion

Often the challenges facing hospitals and medical pathology laboratories are similar. So it is with patient debt. Blame that on two trends. One is the increase in the number of patients with high-deductible health plans. The other is the increase in the number of people enrolled via the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance exchanges with similar high-deductible health plans.

These two factors are contributing to increased levels of bad debt that confront the nation’s hospitals, clinical laboratories, and anatomic pathology groups. However, in some states where Medicaid programs have been expanded, hospitals have reported declines in the level of patient bad debt.

When President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010, many people thought that fewer uninsured people would mean less bad debt for hospitals. Now, six years later, the reality is not so clear-cut.

Hospitals, clinical laboratories, and other entities within the healthcare system are seeing different levels of bad debt depending on what part of the country they are in, what kinds of policies they have enacted, and probably most importantly, whether or not the state in which they are located has expanded Medicaid(more…)