As Obamacare Takes Hold, Unpaid Hospital Bills Vanish

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act hold up signs as the opinion for health care is reported outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday June 25, 2015. The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans. The justices said in a 6-3 ruling that the subsidies that 8.7 million people currently receive to make insurance affordable do not depend on where they live, under the 2010 health care law. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Supporters of the Affordable Care Act hold up signs as the opinion for health care is reported outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday June 25, 2015. The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans. The justices said in a 6-3 ruling that the subsidies that 8.7 million people currently receive to make insurance affordable do not depend on where they live, under the 2010 health care law.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Supporters of the Affordable Care Act hold up signs as the opinion for health care is reported outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday June 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(Forbes) – As hospital operators begin to report second period earnings — the sixth consecutive quarter of new revenue from once uninsured patients — the number and size of unpaid medical bills continues to fall thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

The health law last year began to provide subsidized private health insurance coverage on public exchanges and expanded Medicaid for poor Americans. With increasing numbers signing up to private coverage and more states opting to expand Medicaid in the last 18 months, hospital companies are seeing expenses for charity and uncompensated care fall.

A snapshot of this trend could be seen in last week’s earnings report of Universal Health Services (UHS), a large multi-state investor-owned operator of hospitals, which reported uncompensated care declined in the second quarter “as it has the last six quarters now,” Universal Health chief financial officer Steve Filton told analysts on the company’s second quarter earnings call.

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