Uncompensated care is an overall measure of hospital care provided for which no payment was received from the patient or insurer. It is the sum of a hospital's "bad debt" and the charity care it provides. See American Hospital Association Uncompensated Hospital Care Cost Fact Sheet, available at www.aha.org/content/00-10/10uncompensatedcare.pdf.
In 2009, uncompensated care cost hospitals $39.1 billion. Health Forum, AHA Annual Survey Data, 1980-2009. According to some, the costs of uncompensated care provided by hospitals also gets passed along to families and employers with private insurance. See Americas Health Insurance Plans, http://www.ahipcoverage.com/2011/03/11/the-problem-of-uncompensated-care/. According to AHIP, a 2009 study by Families USA found that uncompensated care costs impose a “hidden tax” on family health coverage of $1,017. Id.
Concerning physician compensation for on-call, emergency department services, physicians have increased their focus on lost earnings from uncompensated services to patients as increased regulation has removed opportunities for physicians to supplement their private practice income. Excerpt from Dinetia M. Newman, Physician On-Call Payments: Compensation in a Transitional Market, Physicians & Physicians Organizations Law Institute (American Health Lawyers Association Feb. 2010).