It's a sign of the times, I suppose: As health insurance becomes more expensive, more employers (especially small businesses and others that operate at the margins of profitability) drop health insurance, throwing more employees into the category of "self-pay" (unless they can afford coverage in the extravagantly priced individual-policy market), thus increasing the percentage of self-pay patients showing up at hospitals' doors, thus increasing the percentage of bad debt those hospitals carry (as a percentage of patient revenue). That is Triad Hospitals
' explanation for third-quarter earnings that are 18 or 19 cents below analysts' expectations. The story is from Modern Healthcare
's "Daily Digest"
(requires paid subscription). Triad's press release is here