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Advance Payment in Hospitals: Implications, Types of Procedures, and Consumer Responsibility

Advance Payment in Hospitals: Implications, Types of Procedures, and Consumer Responsibility

Advance Payment: The New Norm in Hospitals

Emergency Room Treatment and Advance Payment

In the current healthcare landscape, if you're uninsured and find yourself in a hospital emergency room, you'll receive treatment. However, for other services, many hospitals are now requiring advance payment.

The Shift Towards Advance Payment

According to The Wall Street Journal, hospitals and surgery centers are increasingly refusing to perform procedures unless patients pay in full upfront. This is a significant shift from the previous practice of billing patients after the procedure. The old approach often resulted in hospitals chasing patients for payment, repeatedly sending invoices, and resorting to debt collectors.

Implications of Advance Billing

While advance billing helps healthcare facilities avoid the hassle of chasing payments, it's causing distress among patients. Many are struggling to come up with thousands of dollars while dealing with severe health conditions. Those unable to pay upfront are forced to delay procedures. Some patients who managed to pay in advance later discovered they were overcharged and had to fight for refunds.

Types of Procedures and Federal Law

Hospitals and surgery centers are seeking prepayments for a range of procedures, including knee replacements, CT scans, and births. However, federal law requires hospitals to provide emergency care regardless of a patient's ability to pay upfront. Hospitals maintain that they don't turn away patients who need urgent medical care due to a lack of prepayment. They argue that the shift towards advance payment for non-emergencies is due to the challenges and costs associated with chasing unpaid bills.

The Financial Struggle for Treatment

Finding money for treatment is a significant challenge for many American households. A survey by health policy nonprofit KFF found that half of adults can't afford to spend more than $500 on medical care if they suddenly fall sick or get injured, and would need to borrow money.

Cost Implications and Consumer Responsibility

Nonpayment is one of the reasons why costs are skyrocketing for those who do pay. It's interesting to note that hospitals are demanding payment in advance for procedures like births, yet many uninsured individuals receive treatment without paying. The lack of consumer responsibility in healthcare costs is a significant issue.

Comparing Human and Pet Treatment

There's a stark contrast between how we treat humans and pets when it comes to end-of-life care. Many resources are spent on keeping terminally ill people alive, while pets in pain are often euthanized to avoid suffering.

The Right to Die

For those who can't afford services or don't have insurance, the author suggests that they should be given painkillers or have the right to die. The only way to prioritize healthcare resources effectively is for people to have some stake in the costs.

Underlying Issues

There's a problem when half of adults don't have $500 for any emergency, including auto repairs, medical, and home repairs. Factors such as inflation, regulations, medical malpractice insurance, and lawsuits contribute to this issue.

The Future of Healthcare

With millions of aging boomers, this problem is only set to worsen. Any attempt to discuss these issues often results in political backlash, with accusations of promoting "death squads".

Closing Thoughts

The shift towards advance payment in hospitals raises numerous ethical and practical questions. Is it fair to demand payment upfront, especially from those already struggling with health issues? What are the implications for the future of healthcare? Share your thoughts and this article with your friends. Don't forget to sign up for the Daily Briefing, every day at 6pm.

Some articles will contain credit or partial credit to other authors even if we do not repost the article and are only inspired by the original content.

Some articles will contain credit or partial credit to other authors even if we do not repost the article and are only inspired by the original content.

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