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'The Business of Health Care Report'

THR Efforts Lead to Discounts for Uninsured
07/25/2005

I’m Doug Hawthorne, president and CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

Uninsured Texans – and others with health insurance gaps – received help from the Texas Legislature recently when it removed the barrier that kept hospitals from offering discounts to uninsured patients.

The bill, developed through the efforts of Texas Health Resources and the Texas Hospital Association and sponsored by Sen. Royce West of Dallas, allows hospitals to discount charges for everyone – not just those with insurance. Thanks to the new legislation, uninsured Texans, those with a noncovered pre-existing condition, those with significant illness during an employer’s waiting period, and those in need of a service considered experimental and not covered by insurance may qualify for a lower price.

Previously, the only discounts were available to those with insurance whose health plans had negotiated lower rates. Hospital patients who did not qualify as medically indigent faced having to pay the full charges without the opportunity for a discount.

Now, hospitals have the ability to allow patients to accept the responsibility for their medical bills without the burden of full charges. Ultimately, this is a win-win for all Texans.

Texas Health Resources is appreciative of the Legislature and the North Texas delegation. Our goal to improve the health of the people in the communities we serve just got a little easier thanks to their efforts.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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