Today's Wall Street Journal has an article that discusses a growing trend among healthcare providers: demanding cash up front from their patients. It’s becoming more common because, according to providers, they are writing off larger and larger amounts to bad debt. To stop this hemorrhaging hospitals are getting more aggressive about requiring payment from patients before care is provided, even when the medical situation presents life-threatening conditions.

Lisa Kelly was required to struggle with both leukemia and the challenge of raising over $100,000 for her medical bills. Kelly was not uninsured but she was underinsured to a significant degree. The hospital demanded that Kelly pay much of the difference between her insurance policy coverage and the billed charges before care was even provided.

It’s difficult to read her story without wondering, again, how long we can feasibly continue down this path in how we deliver and finance healthcare in our country.

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