Uncompensated care is the total cost of healthcare services provided to patients who are either unable or unwilling to pay. This includes both charity care and bad debt. The uncompensated care costs incurred by hospitals are typically shifted to private insurance companies, along with Medicare and Medicaid underpayments for services rendered. This is referred to as the “cost shift” and it adds to the overall cost of healthcare. It has an effect on all of us.
In Arizona, uncompensated care skyrocketed, from roughly 3% to 8%, when Medicaid was frozen. Once Medicaid was restored and expanded to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, the uncompensated care dropped to the previous levels. But the overall cost shift has continued primarily because Medicaid continues to pay below costs. Until the differential adjusted payment increase of 3 percent was enacted this year, hospitals had not seen an increase in 10 years.
To read more about uncompensated care, please check out a few of the links below. Once you’ve had a chance to look them over…..let us know what you think. Generating meaningful conversations around the health issues affecting the people of our state is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!