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Uninsured Patients Pay More For Hospital Visits Than Insurance Companies - Americans Travel To Foreign Counties For Medical Procedures

March 5th 2006

Uninsured Patients Pay More For Hospital Visits Than Insurance Companies - Americans Travel To Foreign Counties For Medical Procedures


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 years.

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 training.” 

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. 

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

 Health Insurance

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:50 PM