Hospitals lost $46B in unpaid medical bills in 2013

Hospitals footed the bill for a record $46 billion worth of unpaid medical bills in 2013, nearly double the amount from a decade ago.

The costs of uncompensated care reflect data from nearly 5,000 hospitals around the country, according to surveys collected by the American Hospital Association (AHA).

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The costs include all unpaid medical bills as well as “charity care,” in which hospitals don’t expect patients to make payments.

While the costs have rapidly increased over the last decade, it makes up nearly the same percentage of hospitals’ overall expenses.

Uncompensated care took up about 5.9 percent of hospitals’ total expenses in 2013, compared to 5.5 percent in 2003, according to the date.

Hospitals expected that their unpaid medical bills would decrease under ObamaCare, though it would likely take for the data to reflect the reforms. 

The statistics do not include the amount of money that hospitals lose from underpayment of Medicaid and Medicare programs, the AHA noted.