NU Online News Service, Feb. 19, 2004, 12:03 p.m. EST – A small Hispanic consumer group says the idea of nonprofit hospitals giving huge price breaks to privately insured patients is immoral.[@@]
For years, U.S. managed care provider networks have been persuading doctors and hospitals to offer their patients steep discounts. In some cases, uninsured patients and insured patients who seek out-of-network care pay several times as much as patients who are receiving in-network care.
The Consejo de Latinos Unidos, East Los Angeles, Calif., has placed print ads in the Washington Times that criticize nonprofit hospitals for charging poor and moderate-income patients much higher rates than they charge insured patients.
The council cited the case of a Catholic hospital in Illinois that had its tax-exempt status revoked because of aggressive collection tactics and a big discrepancy between the rates it charged insured and uninsured patients. The hospital published a press release stating that the hospital would try to limit the rate difference for uninsured patients with incomes at or below 300% of the federal poverty level.