Since 2000, hospitals of all types have provided more than $620 billion in uncompensated care to their patients.
Each year, the American Hospital Association (AHA) publishes aggregate information on the level of uncompensated care – care provided for which no payment is received – delivered by all types of U.S. hospitals. The data used to generate these numbers come from the AHA’s Annual Survey of Hospitals, which is the nation’s most comprehensive source of hospital financial data. This fact sheet provides the definition of uncompensated care and technical information on how this figure is calculated on a cost basis.
Please note, this information includes only two components within the universe of benefits that hospitals provide to their communities. While this fact sheet contains important information, it does not account for the many other services and programs that hospitals provide to meet identified community needs. It also may not fully account for other ways in which hospitals provide financial assistance to patients of limited means.i
i. Financial assistance is included as a community benefit that non-profit hospitals and health systems report on IRS Form 990 Schedule H. Other Schedule H community benefit activities include: participation in means-tested government programs, like Medicaid; health professions education; health services research; subsidized health services; community health improvement activities; and cash or in-kind contributions to other community groups. A 2017 Ernst & Young study analyzed Schedule H filings to estimate the federal revenue foregone due to the tax exemption of non-profit hospitals as well as the community benefits they provide. The analysis found that in 2013 the estimated tax revenue foregone due to the tax exempt status of non-profit hospitals was $6.0 billion, but that the associated community benefit provided by those hospitals was $67.4 billion – 11 times greater than the value of tax revenue foregone. (https://www.aha.org/system/files/2018-02/tax-exempt-hospitals-benefits.pdf)