Thursday, May 05, 2005

Minnesota Hospital Systems Agree Not to Charge Some Uninsured Patients More than the Insured

USA Today reports that Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch has obtained agreements from four hospital systems not to charge uninsured patients with household incomes less than $125 K more than the discounted rates given large insurers. Hatch had threatened to sue the four systems, Allina, North Memorial, Park Nicollet, and HealthEast Care, and had called their policies of charging uninsured patients higher rates than those given to insured patients "consumer fraud." Hatch had previously gotten a similar agreement from Fairview Health Systems.
This seems to be a hopefully the beginning of a trend. However, it is upsetting that many not-for-profit hospitals and hospital systems still seem to be charging uninsured patients, who are often poor, much more than the rates they negotiate with big managed care organizations.

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