Sentara Health explains how the health care act affects them

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by Lucy Bustamante

WVEC.com

Posted on June 28, 2012 at 4:47 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 28 at 5:21 PM

NORFOLK -- One local hospital chain is talking about how Obama's health care plan would affect them.

Sentara hospitals spend $183 million a year on indigent care for about 120,000 people. However, those same people that walk into Sentara hospitals every year without insurance may now also be eligible for Medicaid.

The man in charge of Sentara's Optima health insurance, Mike Dudley, explains how it could affect them.

"If a whole bunch of people who are currently not eligible for Medicaid become eligible, then providers will receive reimbursement at Medicaid reimbursement levels which is actually below what it costs the hospitals and the doctors to provide."

Right now, the hospital can afford indigent care because they write it off.  Those write-offs pay higher than medicaid reimbursements.

The hospitals will somehow have to make up for the costs.

"A premium tax is going to be added on to all of the health plans around America. That premium tax is probably around 2%. The only way for us to deal with that and be able to stay in business is to put that increase into our premiums," said Dudley.

He says they've already implemented parts of the law like covering children through age 26 and taking children who had pre-existing conditions.  By January they'll have to take anyone with a pre-existing condition. The law will decide how much to charge patients.




 

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