KHN senior correspondent Markian Hawryluk joined Colorado Public Radio’s Avery Lill on “Colorado Matters” to discuss his recent story on how high-deductible health plans are especially hurting rural America. (His segment begins at 11 minutes and 40 seconds in, after you click on the link for the full show.)
Such insurance plans are more prevalent in rural areas, where incomes tend to be lower, compared with urban areas, leaving patients with hefty bills they cannot afford when a health care crisis occurs.
These plans also pinch rural hospitals: When a patient arrives at a rural hospital needing critical care, the person is often stabilized and transferred to a larger facility. But bills from the first site of care generally get applied to the patient’s deductible. When patients can’t afford their deductible, the smaller hospital winds up eating the costs.