Some hospital officials have suggested that hospitals, or county health departments that own hospitals and clinics, or other entities might pre-select patients for subsidies based on their history of receiving uncompensated care, especially if their illnesses suggest the likelihood of repeat hospitalizations.
The AHA weighed in that too.
"The ACA requires tax-exempt hospitals to have a written financial assistance policy that describes the criteria that will be applied and the financial assistance that will be provided to help patients afford health care," the AHA legal advisory said. "Premium subsidies could be one form of financial assistance."
If large numbers of hospitals take advantage of this, funding hundreds of their most expensive patients, they may reap major financial benefit. Instead of writing off that care, they will now be paid at health plan rates.