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|Law Effective Wednesday Helps Uninsured Illinoisans
|A new law set to go into effect this week will provide deep discounts off hospital charges and will cap hospital bills for eligible uninsured patients.
Under the Hospital Uninsured Patient Discount Act, hospitals are prohibited from collecting more than 25 percent of the patient's family income during a 12-month period. Patients who qualify would be charged no more than 35 percent above the hospital's cost of providing care.
The Illinois Attorney General's office will oversee and enforce the new law. Attorney General Lisa Madigan says it is a win for hospitals and for patients. Madigan says on average, hospitals charge the uninsured 200 percent above cost. She says hospitals will likely recoup more expenses with the lower charge.
Ken Robbins, president of the Illinois Hospital Association, agrees. He says while the outcome of such a change is uncertain, it's likely that hospitals will collect more. He estimates that hospitals looking for 200 percent above cost receive only about 5 percent. He says medical bills are the reason for about 50 percent of personal bankruptcy filings in the United States.
Eligibility for non-rural hospitals:
The discount will be available to uninsured patients with family income not more than 600 percent of the federal poverty level ($127,200 for a family of four) for all medically necessary services exceeding $300 in any one inpatient admission or outpatient encounter.
Eligibility for rural hospitals and critical access hospitals:
The discount will be available to uninsured patients with annual family income of not more than 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($63,600 for a family of four) for all medically necessary services exceeding $300 in any one inpatient admission or outpatient encounter.
The act becomes effective Wednesday.
(Illinois Radio Network)
|03 30 09 by Newsroom
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