The Appalachian Regional Healthcare system has posted notices in its 10 hospitals that “provides an incorrect web address to sign up for federally mandated health coverage, falsely states uninsured patients won’t receive non-emergency services after Jan. 1 and sets an arbitrary deadline to enroll for insurance” under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Mary Meehan of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. “And CEO Joe Grossman is OK with that.”
Grossman told Meehan that he dictated the notice’s stern tone and established the Nov. 30 deadline for ARH patients to get insurance effective Jan. 1 to “build a sense of urgency” because he had heard patients say they had no incentive to sign up for health insurance. Meehan notes that the actual deadline was Dec. 23, and the deadline for the first year of enrollment is March 31; and that the chain serves “some of the poorest areas of the country. Ten percent of ARH’s patients are uninsured,” and Grossman said many don’t pay taxes and this would not be subject to the fine for not having insurance.
ARH sent a letter with “the exact aggressive and misleading language” to 12,000 uninsured patients who received treatment at the hospitals in July, August and September.
“Cara Stewart, an attorney with the Kentucky Equal Justice Center, a nonprofit advocacy group,” said the letter seemed like “fear mongering,” Meehan reports. “Stewart emphasized that there is nothing in the ACA denying care for uninsured people. In fact, there are specific federal funds set aside to pay for uninsured care through 2020, she said.” (Read more)