Report says uncompensated hospital care costs drop 17 pct.

Published 10:14 am Tuesday, November 1, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — A new report released Monday by the state Department of Health shows the cost of uncompensated care at Minnesota hospitals has dropped nearly 17 percent since the federal Affordable Care Act was implemented.

Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger said the drop is a positive sign of progress in reducing the number of Minnesotans who don’t have health coverage.

According to the Star Tribune the report shows uncompensated care costs fell from $305 million to $268 million in 2015. It was the second consecutive annual decline, which started in 2014 when the federal health law expanded health insurance coverage.

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Uncompensated care includes charity care, which is when hospitals provide care without expecting to be paid. It also includes “bad debt,” when hospitals expect payment but don’t get it.

“While we still have significant challenges to ensure that all Minnesotans have access to high-quality health care at affordable rates, this drop in charity care and bad debt is a positive sign that reflects our progress in reducing the number of Minnesotans going without coverage,” Ehlinger said in a statement.

The Affordable Care Act allowed Minnesota to expand Medicaid coverage for low-income residents. It also provides federal tax credits to subsidize the cost of individual health insurance policies purchased on exchanges like MNsure.