ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Some hospitals are scaling back financial assistance for middle and lower income patients, hoping to push them into signing up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
One local hospital that’s doing just that.
Barnes Jewish Hospital has started charging co-pays to uninsured patients, no matter how poor.
Law Professor Sidney Watson at Saint Louis University’s Center for Health Law Studies calls this a bad idea, especially in Missouri.
“Here in Missouri, there is no affordable health insurance available to those who could quality for the Medicaid expansion, and one of the things that Barnes Jewish Hospital is doing is charging them very high co-pays for people at that income level,” she says.
Watson says charging could deter patients from needed treatment, or push them into possible bankruptcy.
Barnes Jewish officials acknowledged the establishment of co-pays; however, they say patients will continue to receive needed medical care, regardless of their ability to make a payment at time of service.
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