The Medicare system was created to benefit patients, but not just those who are eligible for coverage under the government funded healthcare program. It was designed to ensure that those paying for private healthcare insurance, and those paying out of pocket would not be forced to absorb any of the medical costs associated with the Medicare program. Of course, many of those covered by it are not able to even afford the deductibles and coinsurance. Even those who are dual -eligible, receiving Medicaid coverage in addition to Medicare often have gaps in coverage that are expected to be paid out-of-pocket. When those payments are not made, then hospitals have bad debt that must be paid in some fashion. The fear was that this bad debt would result in healthcare service costs rising for all others. In order to prevent that, the Medicare program allows for hospitals and other medical facilities to apply for payments on specified bad debts.
Unfortunately, those healthcare providers are finding that they must apply for payments on an increasing number of bad debts. Some of the largest outlets in the country have recently started covering the story, reporting that more than 65% of accounts are left unpaid, because Americans are finding it difficult to afford the costs not paid by their insurance policies. Of course, not all of those bad accounts are belonging to Medicare recipients, but it does make it more important than ever for hospitals to ensure that requests for payment are sent properly and in a timely manner for payment by CMS.
As the country faces severe healthcare reform, there are many concerns that it will become increasingly difficult for average Americans to afford proper healthcare. That could mean even more bad debt for medical institutions. Some suspect that up to 95% of accounts will be unpaid five years from now. The pressure is on for medical facilities as they attempt to prepare for the unknown.