Fewer Uninsured Patients Seek Hospital Care

Many healthcare industry analysts and investors expected hospital chains to see more uninsured patients in the first quarter as a result of the economic decline and rising unemployment. Surprisingly, however, many hospitals noted a decrease in uninsured patients coming through their doors in the first few months of 2009.

In fact, Franklin-based Community Health Systems, which is the largest publicly-traded hospital chain, posted a 3% drop in uninsured admissions in some of its hospitals. In addition, Tenet Healthcare of Dallas unofficially reported that charity and uninsured admissions fell by more than 4%.

Analysts say that fewer uninsured patients are putting off healthcare, and programs like COBRA and Medicaid are helping pick up the slack, however, they are weary about the after-affects of the uninsured putting off care. It could hypothetically backfire when these patients get sicker and then seek medical care.

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