Hospitals Are Forcing Consumers to Pay Before Receiving Care 

By Consumers for Quality Care, on May 29, 2024

Hospitals Are Forcing Consumers to Pay Before Receiving Care 

Many hospitals and medical providers are now requiring consumers to pay in advance before receiving medical care, according to The Wall Street Journal.  

Heather Miconi’s daughter, Trista, needed to have adenoid and tonsil surgery to ease her breathing. Before the surgery, Merritt Island Surgery Center in Florida billed Miconi for $2,000 and warned her the surgery would be rescheduled if the bill was not paid in full before the procedure. Miconi, who works three jobs, could not come up with the money that quickly and turned to GoFundMe to raise the funds needed.  

What the Miconis experienced is becoming increasingly common as a growing number of hospitals are now choosing to bill their patients before treating them. Additionally, consumers are at times overcharged and then end up going through an even more convoluted and bureaucratic process to receive whatever refund they may be owed. This was the case for Blake Young, 59, of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Young was billed an extra $2,500 for a heart screening last November and it took more than six months to receive his refund. 

Kodiak Solutions, a health care consulting company that analyzed data from 1,850 hospitals, found that in the first quarter of 2024, almost one-fourth, or 23 percent, of treatment costs were collected by hospitals before any care was given, an increase of three percent from two years ago. 

According to KFF, half of all consumers are unable to afford an unexpected $500 medical procedure. Requiring payments before medical services are rendered puts undue financial stress on consumers. CQC calls on lawmakers and regulators to ensure consumers are not forced to skip needed medical procedures due to arbitrary prepayment requirements.