PORTLAND, Maine — The amount Maine hospitals spend on free care has doubled in the past five years as many people have lost insurance during the poor economy and companies have shifted an increasing amount of health care costs onto employees.
The Maine Hospital Association says the state’s 36 nonprofit hospitals provided $190 million in charity care last year, up from $94 million in 2007.
Uncollected bills rose to $209 million, up 34 percent from 2007.
Maine’s hospitals are required by the state to provide medically necessary free care to patients with incomes at or below 150 percent of federal guidelines.
The Portland Press Herald reports that more scrutiny is being placed on free care as health care has become big business and top hospital executives in Maine fetch six-figure salaries.