Tampa Bay hospitals asking payment before care

Local hospitals joining movement to have patients pay first.

When you get your car repaired, you pay after, when you can tell it's fixed. Going to the hospital used to work the same way. Now, more hospitals are making people with insurance pay before they get treatment.

10News reached out to several hospitals and groups in our area to see if they’re doing this. Four of them returned our calls or responded to our emails.

Lakeland Regional Health would not comment, but BayCare, Tampa General Hospital and Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital did. They all have similar policies.

They give estimates and ask for patients to pay in advance. In some cases, if they can’t, they’ll reschedule it for later, as long as putting off surgery won’t be bad for the patient’s health.

“I think one of the biggest things is that it may cause people to prolong or delay treatment, or maybe not have treatment at all,” said Carrie Y. Hepburn of the Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative, a non-profit aimed at helping people get access to treatment.

One reason hospitals started charging before surgeries is deductibles have gotten high for some people with Obamacare. That would lead people to having surgery, then not paying for it.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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