Factors to Take into Account when Considering the Patient’s Ability to Pay
Hospitals and doctors get funds mainly from patients’ payments and also from insurance plans. There are however, patients who lack the ability to pay for health care and hence rely on charity care funded by non-profit foundations or organizations. Many countries have government acts that require health care providers to accept all patients without considering the fact that they have the ability to pay for emergency room care services or not (Hardeman and Meessen,2004).
One of the factors that should be considered when determining the patient’s ability to pay for medical services is the annual income of the patient in question. It is common to find patients who have an extremely small annual income and hence do not qualify for health insurance provided by the government. The other factor to consider is what the patients sacrifice in order to pay for medical care. Some patients may sacrifice basic needs such as education and food in order to pay for health care services and this is absolutely inappropriate. Healthcare providers are encouraged to lower the price of health care services for such patients (Sauerborn, Adams and Hien, 1996).
The other common household responses that should be considered are sale of key assets such as land and borrowing of money. The patient’s ability to pay may also be weighed by considering whether he or she has postponed health care for a given period of time. Postponement should be due to the lack of money or ability to pay for health care services (Russell, 1996).
In conclusion, healthcare providers should take into account the patients’ ability to pay and formulate initiatives that will lead to affordable health care services to all individuals.
Russell, S (1996) Review article: Ability to pay for health care: Concepts and evidence. Health policy and planning; 11(3): 219-237.
Sauerborn, R., Adams, A., & Hien, M. (1996) Household strategies to cope with the economic costs of illnesses. Social Science & Medicine; 43(3): 291-301.
Hardeman, W., & Meessen, B. (2004) Out-of-pocket health expenditure and debt in poor households: evidence from Calimbodia. Tropical Medicine & International Health; 9(2): 273-280.