MHA Expresses Concerns About Growing Number Of Uninsured

BOSTON — The Mass. Hospital Assoc. is expressing concern about the growing number of uninsured in the state, a statistic that could lead to greater shortfalls in the Uncompensated Care Pool.
A spring and summer survey from the state’s Division of Health Care Finance and Policy (DHCFP) shows that 397,000, or 6.4{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5}, of Massachusetts residents are uninsured — up from 5.9{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} two years ago. What’s more, says the MHA, 55,000 Medicaid beneficiaries are scheduled to lose their coverage and become uninsured on April 1, 2003.

“The uninsured frequently seek their care at hospitals, whose services to them are funded in part by the Uncompensated Care Pool,” said MHA President Ron Hollander. “Since pool funding is fixed, additions to the uninsured population result in pool shortfalls — the differences between the cost of providing care and the amount of pool funding. Such shortfalls are borne entirely by hospitals.”

Both DHCP and MHA have projected that the FY 2003 shortfall will be around $127 million, he said, while MHA projects the FY 2004 shortfall could reach $250 million.

A special commission to study the workings and financing of the pool has begun meetings on the subject.