A recent study conducted by the University of California Berkeley revealed that health care costs for workers in Monterey County are relatively high compared to other regions. in the Bay Area.
This study reveals the affordable employer insurance disparity affecting the hospitality sector. 43% of these workers have low incomes, and cannot afford the high cost of medical care, although, in many cases, they have health coverage, the study shows.
“The expensive prices of hospitals in Monterey make it difficult to quickly access workers, causing workers to go into debt,” said Enrique López Lila, UC Berkeley.
The study focuses on three hospitals in the county, which they claim are the most expensive in the region. Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, CHOMP, Natividad Medical Center and Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital.
It was also revealed that some workers rely on an employer to receive medical benefits, but the cost of services at a hospital within the county is 50% higher than the average hospital in California.
“We have a case of a person who went to the hospital here in Monterey for three weeks, after three weeks the bill is more than half a million dollars,” said Héctor Azpilcueta, secretary treasurer of UNITED HERE Local 483, in Pacific Grove.
The organization, UNITED HERE, which represents the rights of hospitality workers in the peninsula, says some of these workers will have to leave the county to pay for their medical care.
Workers say the cost of medical services is so high, even if their insurance policies cover all expenses, they have to pay up to $10,000 out of pocket to cover the deductible.
“A housekeeper doesn’t make $100 an hour in this industry, so her salary isn’t enough to cover the bills,” Hector added.
Meanwhile, at Berkeley State University, the research is expanding, considering the various reasons for these differences in the prices of hospitals in Monterey County, compared to other regions.
One of these factors, as mentioned by Enrique López Lira, of the University of Berkeley, is the high demand to obtain services in the health market. This is confirmed by studies of the American Hospital Association.
This means that rural hospitals within 15 miles of each other are prone to higher prices of 7% to 12%, compared to the average price of a hospital in California, according to the annual database of American Association of Hospitals.
“Prices continue to rise because there is no competition … how can we fix this problem, also know how they use the income, the hospitals that profit from the high prices,” added López. “What do they do with the money, do they use it to improve their services, or do they keep it?
Because of this, private services responded that the alliance of hospitals and policies use federal funds to improve hospital services.
Lilia Chagolla, director of member services for the Central California Alliance for Health said that this program does not provide financial support to people directly. The alliance is a cause that seeks to support providers or agencies in the community, especially where many Latinos access services.
The Alliance received an $18.8 million grant promising assistance for low-income communities, especially the Hispanic community, to improve service quality. However, the hospitals and providers served by La Alianza will apply for funds where they see fit. One of them might be expanding your services, improving the hospital, or getting more work tools.
Lidia also says that since 2015, the Alliance has given more than $149 million in grants to providers within Monterey County and the other three regions they serve.
We have contacted the local hospitals, Natividad Medical Center and Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, and are awaiting a response. Meanwhile, Montage Health, owner of CHOMP, stated the following:
CHOMP also said that the discount rates have consequences for the medical service they offer, leading to many layoffs, and making that decision could be medical malpractice, by limiting staff and service in case of emergency.