Unpaid Medical Bills in Wisconsin are Climbing Again after Decline

Uncompensated care is on the rise as hospitals in Wisconsin and around the country are seeing an increase in unpaid medical bills. In Wisconsin, it’s topped a billion dollars.

In 2017, 150 hospitals in Wisconsin had $1.1 billion of uncompensated health care services, this includes both charity care and bad debt. It’s an increase from 14 percent from 2016. Hospitals in Milwaukee County alone accounted for nearly 30 percent of the overall total, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association report.

Nationally, uncompensated care at hospitals around the United States was more than $38 billion in 2016.

The report on Wisconsin hospitals doesn’t give an explanation for the rise in unpaid medical bills and WHA officials weren’t available for comment. But those who advocate for more access to health coverage note uncompensated care levels haven’t exceeded a billion dollars since 2014, when key elements of the Affordable Care Act took effect.