Uninsured Patients Pay
More For Hospital Visits Than Insurance Companies - Americans Travel To
Foreign Counties For Medical Procedures
March 5th 2006
Many Americans understand that there is a problem with the health care
industry. The problem is that everyone has their own idea what that
problem is. Some blame the insurance companies while other blame the
pharmaceuticals or the hospitals. Many Americans have seen their
insurance coverage disappear with their jobs, finding themselves
shopping for insurance with expensive pre-existing conditions.
The CBS News Program 60 Minutes ran a story Sunday night about the
problem faced by the uninsured in cases of emergency. It has to be one
of the most eye-opening health care stories to broadcast in recent
Dan Rather interviewed a California man who was injured and taken to the
local emergency room. The hospital bill came to a staggering $246,000.
The family contacted a local community activist named KB Forbes, who
said "Basically, hospitals charge uninsured people four or five times
more than what they would accept as payment in full from an insurance
company.” Forbes considered this price gouging.
If the man was insured, the insurance company would have been billed
only $50,000 by the hospital. Since Federal law requires hospitals to
charge everyone the same, how can the hospitals get away with this?
According to the broadcast, they do charge the same for everyone,
whether they are insured or not, but they do give discounts to insurance
companies and Medicare patients. These hospital discounts can be as much
as 75 percent.
The is not the only interesting story 60 Minutes has covered concerning
the health care industry. Last year they ran a story about uninsured
Americans that travel to the Far East and India to get medical
attention. There are many first rate foreign hospitals that cater to
Americans, and sometimes the treatment will be as good or better than
they would receive in the US. Plus, the patients will end up paying a
fraction of the cost.
The Vacation, Adventure and Surgery story ran on 60 Minutes back in
September 2005. In the report Bob Simon said of Thailand, “for people
needing medical care, it’s known increasingly for Bumrungrad Hospital, a
luxurious place that claims to have more foreign patients than any other
hospital in the world. It’s like a United Nations of patients here, and
they’re cared for by more than 500 doctors, most with international
Patients that get treatment in these overseas hospitals can expect to
pay one-eighth of what they would pay in the US. The report says that
Bumrungrad is the “No. 1 international hospital in the world.”
There is an estimated 46 million Americans without health insurance.
Forbes told Rather that 1 in 6 people are vulnerable. The problem
affects the middle class the most; those not poor enough to qualify for
government aid and those who are unable to pay for medical insurance.
By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer
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