Medicaid Expansion Fuels 18% Drop In Hospital Charity Care

Aug 8, 2014

Since the beginning of this year, Rhode Island’s hospitals have seen a nearly 18 percent drop in the amount of charity care they must provide. Hospitals provide millions in uncompensated care to people who can’t pay or don’t have insurance. But the number of people without insurance has dwindled since the roll out of the Affordable Care Act. As a result, acting president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island Mike Souza says hospitals may be recouping as much as $40 million more dollars this year.

“So that’s fairly significant, seeing that we annually have over $200 million of uncompensated care," said Souza.

But Souza says that doesn’t mean it’s a windfall for hospitals. They’ve been struggling financially – and mostly in the red – through the recession.

Souza says most of the drop in uncompensated care can be chalked up to the expansion of Medicaid. Tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders have enrolled in Medicaid since Obamacare took effect. That includes people who became eligible because of the law and people who were already eligible but hadn’t yet signed up.