Bankruptcies and Health Costs

As an add to the last blog of why muddled prices cause a lot of bad debt for providers, they also wreak havoc with consumers. Bad debt and bankruptcies go hand-in-hand. Two-third of personal bankruptcies are reported to stem from an inability to pay medical bills. Half of those people had insurance.  Clearly, all policies have to have a maximum out-of-pocket expense level if bankruptcies and bad debt are to be avoided. The removal of life time and procedure maximums under Obamacare will solve that, albeit at the expense of higher premiums. But the real villain in this story remains the staggering price of health care itself. A good dose or marketplace dynamics could wring out the excessive pricing. The variation from top to bottom in a regional market can be three times from bottom prices to top. If the guys at the bottom can do a hip replacement for $25,000, why can’t all providers? Why would anyone pay $50,000 and go bankrupt? But, because of invisible pricing, a lot of Americans do just that.

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