Friday, September 20, 2013

Financial Aid for Poor People to Pay for Hospital Care

How much aid can you get if you need hospitalization, and don't have much income?  That depends on where you live. According to,   The Emergency Treatment and Labor Act of 1986 provides that hospitals that accept Medicare must provide screening, emergency care and appropriate transfers, regardless of your insurance coverage.  However, they do not include a right to ongoing care.  What if you need to stay in a hospital?

There is the Hill-Burton Act, passed in the 1940s that requires hospitals that have received federal loans to give free or reduced cost to indigents.  There are about 170 facilities still under that legal obligation.  More on how to apply for assistance--if you are a patient at one of them, and indigent-- is here.

Then there's state law.  Various states have laws that cover, or help defray, the cost of hospital stays for people living below or near the poverty line (This is the level by size of household for 2013).  In Ohio, the Hospital Care Assurance Program (HCAP) is open for Ohio residents that live at or below the poverty level.  You have up to three years from the time you are notified to apply for this aid.  Here's a sample application form. You apply at the hospital where you received treatment.  For more in-depth information, see this FAQ section by the Ohio Hospital Association. Here's more information from Human Arc.  Remember that this ONLY covers the cost of the hospital, not doctors, the pharmacy, etc. 

What if you don't live in Ohio?  Here's a website by Community Catalyst, an advocacy group for medical consumers, with a state-by-state rundown of "free" and "charity" care and the laws around them.

1 comment:

Humaun Kabir said...
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