We see clients every day who are strapped for cash because of their hospital bills, and we are always surprised when they say they haven’t applied for financial assistance for those bills. More often than not, clients did not even know that financial assistance may be available. While your credit scores love that you are paying your bills, your pocket doesn’t. And there are assistance options available to you.
First, let’s discuss tips for getting the most assistance possible.
Be honest on your application.
Don’t forget to include all of your dependents.
You should try to verify income by using your most recent pay stubs instead of your tax return.
If you aren’t working and have no income, the individual who is “supporting” your financial needs must write a letter saying they pay for your basic needs (i.e. shelter, food, clothes)
Fill these applications out as soon as you receive the bill. The sooner you utilize this program, the less stressful it will be. Also, these programs usually can’t be utilized if your bill is in collections.
St. Vincent Hospital Bills
St. Vincent is committed to providing financial assistance to people from many income levels.
Directly from their Financial Assistance Policy published on their web site:
“Under the FAP, an eligible patient with income less than or equal to 250% of the Federal Poverty Level (“FPL”) will receive a 100% charity care write-off on the portion of the charges for which he or she is responsible, and an eligible patient with income above 250% of the FPL but not exceeding 400% of the FPL will receive a sliding scale discount on such charges. Patients who are eligible for financial assistance will not be charged more for eligible care than the amounts generally billed to patients with insurance coverage.”
“Patients who do not qualify for financial assistance under the FAP may qualify for other types of assistance. For more information, please contact St. Vincent Evansville, Cashier’s Office/Main Lobby or by telephone at 812-485-4970.”
So, what is 250% of the Federal Poverty Level? We’re glad you asked.
For households with more than 8, add $4,320 for each additional person.
If you make between the highlighted 250% and the highlighted 400% columns for your family size, you qualify for financial assistance from St. Vincent.
Click here for the St. Vincent Financial Assistance Application.
Help is available by contacting 1-800-582-8258 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deaconess Hospital Bills
According to their Financial Assistance Policy:
“Services eligible under this policy will be made available to the patient on a sliding fee scale, in accordance with financial need, as determined in reference to federal poverty levels (FPL) in effect at the time of the determination. The basis for the amounts Deaconess Health System, Inc., will charge patients qualifying for financial assistance is as follows:
1. Patients whose family income is at or below 200% of the FPL are eligible to receive free care.
2. Patients whose family income is above 200% and up to 400% of the FPL are eligible to receive services at a discount rate.
3. Patients whose family income exceeds 400% of the FPL may be eligible to receive discounted rates on a case-by-case basis based on their specific circumstances, such as catastrophic illness or medical indigence, at the discretion of Deaconess Health System, Inc. H. In certain situations, it may be appropriate to grant a patient financial assistance even though the patient’s financial situation does not satisfy the requirements set forth in this policy. In these situations, the Financial Assistance Application and other pertinent information may be reviewed by the Deaconess Financial Assistance Committee, and a determination will be made as to the patient’s eligibility for charity care.”
This paragraph just told us that if you feel you have circumstances outside of your income that should qualify you for financial assistance, you can still contact Deaconess to determine if you can receive assistance.
Read the entire policy here: Deaconess Financial Assistance Policy.
Click here for the Deaconess Financial Assistance Application
Email your completed application to Financial.Assistance@deaconess.com for questions you can contact them at 812-450-6815.
Tri-State Orthopaedic Surgeons
According to their financial assistance policy:
“Uninsured or underinsured patients will have the opportunity to be considered for Financial Assistance under this Financial Assistance policy based upon the following criteria calculated upon the patient's financial documentation at the time of the request. Potential patient responsibility will be determined upon the sliding fee schedule and may have an expectation of payments set forth within Tri-State Memorial Hospital's collection policy:
A. The full patient balance for hospital charges will be evaluated to determine Financial Assistance eligibility for any patient whose gross family income is at or below 100% of the current federal poverty guidelines.
Patients whose gross family income are 101% to 200% of the current federal poverty guideline will be eligible for a discount of 75% to be applied to the patient account balance and will be determined as a Financial Assistance discount.
Patients whose gross family income is 201% to 300% of the current federal poverty guideline will qualify for a discount of 35% applied to the patient responsibility.
B. Prima Facie Write-offs: The hospital may choose to grant Financial Assistance based solely upon the initial determination. Any patients who are on state assistance, are unemployed, disabled, transient or incompetent may be valid "prima facie" candidates. In such cases, the hospital may not complete full verification or documentation of any request.”
Read the full policy here: Tri-State Orthopaedic Financial Assistance Policy
Click here for the Tri-State Orthopaedic application
Most medical facilities offer a financial assistance program. If you have a medical bill, you should always ask what financial assistance options are available. At the very least, you could be offered a payment plan with no interest that will keep you from having to drain your savings to pay unexpected medical bills.