America's Health Insurance Plans, the lobby for the insurance industry, could not be reached for a comment.
Who Gets Help with Premiums?
How hospitals or their doctors might decide which patients to cover is the tricky part, and up for debate.
Currently, patients who enroll in health insurance exchanges have to pay their premium bills within 90 days. If they don't, and the hospital or clinic that provided care that was reimbursed, the health plan has the right to "claw back" those funds, in effect reverting the patient to uninsured status. The hospital then may be forced to go after the patient separately, a time-consuming and often unsuccessful effort.
Some have suggested that the precedent has already been set, because government agencies now allow third parties to pay COBRA premiums, for example, as a benefit for employees who voluntary take buyouts from their companies in downsizing strategies.