Rising numbers of unpaid medical bills and applications for assistance indicate that as budgets tighter, people in the Beaufort, S.C, area are having a harder time paying the costs associated with maintaining their well-being.
The number of people unable to pay office fees, hospital bad debts and Medicaid applicants are on the rise, according to health officials.Beaufort Jasper Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, a network of public health clinics that provide an array of services from prenatal to dentistry, saw 20,635 patients in 2007. Of those, the patients who pay for their health care out-of-pocket decreased from 37 percent to 32 percent, said executive director Roland Gardner. He said that decrease could be because the patients simply do not have the money, but he said it was unclear if that could be directly attributed to the economy.
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