Patients with No Health Insurance – Impact on US Medical Cost
This is the first of a 10 article series from Medical Tourism Corporation that examines why medical health care and health insurance costs are high in the United States.
Due to the high cost of medical insurance, there are a large number of uninsured & under-insured in the USA with no health insurance coverage. These people cannot afford medical care as well. There needs to be a solution to help individuals with no health insurance. This article discusses the impact of lack of medical insurance coverage on the US Health system costs in general.
The hospitals have to inflate the treatment costs to make up the loss they incurred due to non paying patients. This is especially true in case of emergency (whom they cannot deny treatment).
Dr. Robert M. Williams from the University of Michigan examined the costs of and charges to 24,000 patients who came to emergency departments in six Michigan hospitals in 1996. He found that the average cost of a non-urgent visit was $62 and the average charge was $124. With a 10% medical inflation in the last decade these numbers must have increased.
Why was the average charge (hospital bill) double?
Major reason is that approximately half of all emergency department charges go uncollected. So the paying patients are not only paying for themselves, but also for the non-paying patients. Without this, the hospital would go out of business.
As the growing number of uninsured and under-insured turn to medical care, they will have a higher impact on the hospital bottom lines, impacting the cost of hospital care & in some cases reduction in hospital services. As hospital & medical care costs go up, so do the health insurance cost which results in the cycle of more people joining the ranks not having health insurance.
Most countries this is not the case with health care. In Canada & most of Europe the medical care is provided free by the government, although due to inherent inefficiencies in most government undertakings, there are long waiting lines. For some medical procedures like hip replacement surgery or angioplasty surgery there could be a two years wait in such countries. In many other countries the patient has to pay upfront to the hospital before being provided medical care.Typically in such countries the cost of medical treatment is low.
For patients with no health insurance, assistance for Medical Tourism is a good option. If the individual cannot afford even the discounted medical treatment price, who should give that assistance is another question. Going overseas can provide such patients a viable alternative to either suffering with the medical condition at home or becoming a cost to the US medical system.
By getting the opportunity to go overseas, the individual can have their medical treatment done, at the same time save money for the US medical health systems. To understand more about Medical Tourism & how it can help positively towards the US medical cost read the Medical Tourism FAQ.