Uninsured patients owe the National University Hospital of Iceland nearly ISK 190 million (USD 1.8 million/EUR 1.5 million) for treatment received between 2013 and 2016, Vísir reports.
The vast majority of the debt comes from foreign nationals, whose visits to the hospital have nearly tripled since 2013. In that year 1,053 uninsured individuals received treatment at the hospital, while in 2016 and 2017 the hospital treated around 2,700 uninsured patients per year. The majority seek treatment in July and August, while the next busiest month is September.
“With the increase in tourists there has been an increase in visits and stays of uninsured patients in the last years. Their immediate payment rate in the emergency department is around 66 percent, while it takes longer to receive payment for hospital stays, as insurance companies are often the payers in those cases,” the hospital told Fréttablaðið in response to a request for information.
Deposits made by uninsured foreign nationals at the hospital numbered over three times more last year than in 2013. The hospital’s claims due to uninsured persons have increased as well, from just over ISK 261 million in 2013 to over ISK 725 million in 2017.
According to the hospital, the percentage of patients who pay upon receiving treatment varies by department, but averages around 80 percent. If a bill is not paid immediately, a payment request is made via an online bank, and if not paid by the deadline, a penalty is charged.
The number of foreign nationals admitted to the hospital has also increased. In 2013, the hospital admitted 133 uninsured foreign inpatients, or 13 percent of all inpatients. In 2017, the number was 436, and accounted for just over 20 percent of all inpatients.