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Study: Hospitals Charge Uninsured Double For Same Service

A new study in the journal Health Affairs says hospitals routinely charge uninsured patients two-and-a-half times what insured patients are billed for the same service. Hospital officials in Californi

Study: Hospitals Charge Uninsured Double For Same Service

A new study in the journal Health Affairs says hospitals routinely charge uninsured patients two-and-a-half times what insured patients are billed for the same service. Hospital officials in California are blasting the report as outdated. KPBS reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.

The study is based on 2004 data. It says California hospitals are among the worst offenders in overcharging the uninsured.

Jan Emerson is with the California Hospital Association. Emerson says since 2004, California hospitals have provided lots of free care to the uninsured. And under a new state law, hospitals can't charge the uninsured more than the rates Medicare pays.

Still, Emerson says there's a big issue that hasn't been addressed.

Emerson : We have one out of five Californians who have no healthcare insurance. And that's the fundamental problem that has to ultimately get solved.

In the meantime, Emerson says hospitals are eating the difference between what uninsured patients pay and the actual costs of care.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.