Belfort Comments on Third-Party Payments in Health Exchange

Premium Payment Controversy Almost Prevents Dying Cancer Patient From Getting Obamacare
– The Post-Standard

Manatt's Robert Belfort, a partner in the firm's Healthcare Division, spoke to The Post-Standard about the debate on whether third-party premium payments should be accepted on health insurance exchanges.

As reported by The Post-Standard, the federal government has given conflicting opinions on the issue of whether hospitals, drug companies and other third parties can pay insurance premiums for people who enroll in coverage through exchanges. Most recently it was announced that the government discourages this practice for fear that allowing third-party payments will flood the new health insurance exchanges with sick people who have costly medical needs.

However, Belfort told the publication that hospitals want to pay some patients' premiums because the cost of doing so would be far less than providing free care to poor, uninsured patients, said Belfort. By law, hospitals cannot turn away anyone who shows up at their emergency rooms for care.

Belfort said there is nothing in Obamacare that prohibits third-party payments. But he said recent statements by the federal government have created confusion.

Read the article here