Uninsured People on the Rise in the Panhandle

Cary Diller
Cary Diller

Amarillo Medical Services ambulances are reporting a two point eight million dollar loss, mostly due to uninsured patients.

For those of us with health insurance, going to the doctor or hospital is easy...go in, get treated, pay your co-pay and go home, no worries... But it's not that easy for everyone, people like Cary Diller, who is up to his ears in hospital debt because he's uninsured. He cannot afford insurance. He's in debt about $50,000.

Like many who are uninsured, Diller turned to the Tyler Street Resource Center, run by United Way, for help. He says because he can't pay the hospital bills, he is bombarded by creditors and now he has bad credit on his record, which will follow him around for life, anytime he tries to rent an apartment for apply for a loan.

Unfortunately, the resource center isn't able to help him. He doesn't qualify for MediCare or MediCade, so it's up to him to deal with this unfortunate situation. Northwest hospital tells me despite their inability to pay, those who are uninsured will still be treated, as a service to the community. Despite the deficit, Northwest Hospital officials tell me that the ambulance service will not suffer.

If you have health insurance, this will not directly affect your hospital rates, but your premiums could go up, depending on your insurance company's negotiations with the hospital.