Abels & Annes

Out-of-Pocket Hospital Costs are Increasing in Chicago

42116Many people assume that if they have health insurance, they will be protected from big medical bills if they are ever hurt or injured. Unfortunately, it is not until after a car accident or other incident occurs that these individuals realize they are still faced with huge expenses, some of which may be impossible to pay for victims who did not even cause their own damages.

A recent study out of the University of Michigan has confirmed that the situation is getting even bleaker in the nation as out-of-pocket expenses related to hospital treatment increased 37 percent between 2009 and 2013. By the end of that time period, an average patient paid more than $1,000 for her own medical treatment at a hospital and that number did not include follow up care, physical therapy, medication, or other associated costs.

The study was published on Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Internal Medicine, a prominently reviewed journal that is widely available to medical professionals. The study concluded that during the time frame analyzed, there was an 86 percent increase in deductibles and a 33 percent increase in coinsurance. These two categories combined helped to explain why patients were paying more out-of-pocket for their hospital care while also serving to educate the public about this potential issue.

Fortunately for those who call Illinois home, the costs endured by patients here were slightly below average. During the study, out-of-pocket expenses increased only 33 percent and averaged just over $900 per person in 2013.

Health insurance plans vary substantially and many people do not have a comprehensive understanding of exactly how their plans will work. Coinsurance has been one area that has been hitting consumers particularly hard in recent years as it is often required among insured patients who remain in a hospital and it is often in addition to out-of-pocket deductibles. Therefore, some patients who believe they have a maximum amount of cost they may be liable for are sorely surprised to learn that their exposure could be much greater in the event of a serious illness or injury.

If you live in Chicago, it is a good idea to review your health insurance policy in detail to make sure you understand exactly what you may be responsible for if you are in need of hospital care. Note that if your injury is due to the negligence of someone else, like a car accident, slip-and-fall, medical mistake, or a bicycle crash, you may be entitled to bring a civil claim so that you can recover for your losses which can include your medical expenses. In addition to hospital costs, charges for follow up appointments, surgeon’s fees, occupational and rehabilitative care, time missed from work, and pain and suffering are just some of the areas of damages which may be compensable under the laws of Illinois. It is your right to work with an experienced personal injury attorney to help you seek the relief you deserve if you are facing medical bills or other damages from an accident.

Prior Blog Entry:

Impaired Driving Laws in Chicago and the Rights of Victims, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published June 27, 2016.

Resource:

Patients paying higher share of hospital bills, by Robert Channick, Chicago Tribune, published June 27, 2016.