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Got health insurance? That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to pay your medical bills

October 3, 2019


Hospitals around the country are reporting record levels of debt on their books from an unlikely source: patients with health care coverage.

As health insurers and employers have shifted health care costs to patients through high deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses, people who in the past may not have worried about paying for a hospital visit or a surgical procedure are getting hit with massive medical bills that they can’t pay.

Duke University Health System has seen patient interest-free payment plans rise from $19 million in June 2010 to $43 million in January. The increase is largely attributable to rising deductibles, said Keith Stover, Duke’s vice president of finance and chief financial officer.

Duke is fielding 1,500 patient calls a day, most of them asking why they got a bill since they’re insured, Stover said. The call volume is up from about 1,000-1,200 five years ago, he said.

“It’s something everyone in the country is thinking about,” Stover said. “This stuff is mind-blowing – they really don’t understand their benefits until it’s too late.”

Read more here: News & Observer

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