Affordable Care Costly for Hospitals

Affordable Care Costly for Hospitals

They have to pay new fees to help cover uninsured.

Area hospitals say they'll face a big jump in expenses next year when the Affordable Care Act takes effect. Mount Nittany Medical Center expects to pay $184,000 in insurance fees. The money will go to help cover costs of people who can't afford coverage and those with pre-existing conditions.

A hospital spokeswoman says the medical center may also have to pay  more than $1 million in increased health insurance costs for employees.

UPMC Altoona faces the same challenges and C.E.O. Jerry Murray says the total increase in costs isn't known yet. "We do know it's going to increase costs significantly for hospitals,  especially those hospitals that margins are very, very slim.  Any increase in cost is going to impact in a negative way."

Murray adds that there's still a lot of confusion and uncertainty about the effects of the Affordable Care Act.

He says the only thing hospitals can do, right now, is to try to manage their expenses.

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