Family services director sees some benefit in health-care law
Updated: July 3, 2012 1:30PM
HINSDALE — Requiring everyone to get medical insurance likely will reduce the number of people who don’t see a doctor until they go the emergency room, and will increase competition among insurance companies, said Albert Sunseri, acting director of HCS Family Services in Hinsdale.
HCS is a social service agency that operates a food pantry, and housing assistance and parent mentoring programs. Before stepping in as its acting director, Sunseri worked for about 30 years in the health-care industry, including for the Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and the American Hospital Association.
People with no health insurance often “let a chronic condition get to the point where it is very serious,” and then go to the hospital’s emergency department for help, Sunseri said. “Emergency care is the most expensive care we can deliver.”
Hospitals absorb the cost of paying for patients without insurance.
“That’s why an aspirin in the hospital costs $25,” Sunseri said. “It’s because of all the ancillary costs, with charity care being a big part of that.”
Hospital services and supplies are priced to cover what insurance, individuals and the government do not pay.
“We are paying for charity care. People don’t realize that,” Sunseri said.
If people must either have insurance or pay a penalty, it means everyone will “be getting some skin in the game.”
And the insurance market may become more competitive as insurance companies compete for new customers entering the market, Sunseri said.
In a prepared statement, Adventist Midwest Health said, “We look forward to the benefits that will come to our patients with the increased access to insurance coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act.”
Meanwhile, the hospital has been implementing measures to improve the quality of care and reduce costs, the hospital stated.