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September 30, 2015

Minnesota Hospitals' Charity-Care Costs Plunge 22%

Minnesota medical centers saw the biggest drop in the cost of unpaid care in at least 20 years in 2014 as charity-care expenses declined sharply, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

The cost of free and discounted care at 126 hospitals and their affiliated clinics fell by $34.6 million, or 22 percent, more than offsetting a $14.9 million rise in bad debt, according to figures released Tuesday by the state health department. Overall uncompensated care was down by 6 percent, from $313.8 million in 2013 to $294.1 million.

Lawrence Massa, president and CEO of the Minnesota Hospital Association, said the decline in charity care stems from fewer state residents lacking health insurance. "This is the expected result of the Affordable Care Act," he said. According to U.S. Census data, the uninsured rate in the state dropped from 8.2 percent to 5.9 percent in 2014.