Jeffrey Fried, president and CEO
Beebe Medical Center
With these high-deductible health plans now we are seeing more uncompensated care being provided for people who actually have insurance but have a very high deductible. That is where our major pick up in bad debt has been in the past couple of years.
In all of our outpatient areas we are developing point-of-care cash collection so that when people register to have a procedure or test, we try to get their financial information from them up front. If we learn at that time that they have a high-deductable or no coverage, we will try to work with them to let them know what kind of payment they would be expected to make when they come to have their test or procedure. If they are not able to pay it all at once, hopefully we can work out some sort of payment arrangement.
For people who don't have any coverage at all, the Affordable Care Act will provide them coverage. But is it going to be a high-deductible plan? And if so then it may not make a lot of difference to the hospital in terms of revenues. It depends on the details of the plan, and the devil is in the details, as they always say.