NU Online News Service, Jan. 16, 2004, 2:42 p.m. EST – The Council for Affordable Health Insurance, Alexandria, Va., is asking, “Are Hospitals Gouging the Uninsured?”[@@]

The health insurance group is holding a panel discussion about that topic in Washington Jan. 22. Panelists will talk about the differences between the prices that hospitals charge members of Medicare, Medicaid and private managed care plans and the prices that the same hospitals charge the uninsured.

“When the uninsured enter the hospital, they are charged significantly more than patients with Medicare, Medicaid or private health coverage, even though the uninsured are the least able to afford the higher prices because they tend to be lower-income working Americans,” CAHI says in a news release announcing the panel discussion.

CAHI argues that the pricing differences “disproportionately affect minorities, who tend to have lower incomes and work for employers who do not provide health insurance.”

The CAHI panel will include a representative from a Latino group as well as 5 uninsured consumers.