Executives at two big, publicly traded hospital companies — HCA Holdings Inc. and LifePoint Hospitals Inc. — are happy with what the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has done for earnings this year.
Both HCA (NYSE:HCA) and LifePoint (Nasdaq:LPNT) found that PPACA continued to help revenue and earnings in the third quarter
The companies benefited from the start of two big PPACA health coverage access programs: The widely promoted PPACA health insurance public exchange system, and the somewhat less publicized PPACA Medicaid access expansion program.
Hospital companies also welcomed the effects of the two big PPACA coverage expansion programs earlier in the year, but there was some thought that the companies might start to talk about PPACA-related administration glitches and payment adequacy or payment timing problems as the year went on.
So far, at least, the companies are continuing to accentuate the PPACA positives.
For more details about what companies’ executives are saying, read on.
1. The effects of Medicaid expansion are bigger, but both Medicaid expansion and the exchange program seem to be good for business.
William Rutherford, the chief financial officer (CFO) of HCA, was happy to talk about the effects of PPACA on patient volume and patient mix during the conference call his company held with securities analysts to go over third-quarter earnings.
Same-facility admissions increased 2.8 percent overall, and Medicare admissions — which were not directly affected by new PPACA coverage expansion programs — increased 3.1 percent.
Medicaid admissions, which were directly affected by PPACA Medicaid expansion in many states, jumped 9.7 percent, and the number admissions involving patients covered by some kind of commercial health insurance plan, including exchange qualified health plans (QHPs), increased 3.8 percent.
The percentage of patients who were paying entirely out of their own pockets, or clearly had no ability to pay their bills, fell 15 percent.
At LifePoint, Bill Carpenter, the chief executive officer, said his company under PPACA has been very positive. He said PPACA contributed about $12 million to the company’s $156 million in operating earnings.
At LifePoint hospitals, PPACA coverage expansion measures have reduced self-pay admissions 40 percent, and self-payment emergency room visits 22 percent.