Help­ing pa­tients with fi­nanc­ing for med­i­cal debt

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS -

Hos­pi­tals should have a fi­nan­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tions plan in place and start that dis­cus­sion with pa­tients in ad­vance of ser­vices, when­ever pos­si­ble. The Af­ford­able Care Act re­quires not-for-profit hos­pi­tals to de­ter­mine a pa­tient’s el­i­gi­bil­ity for fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance be­fore en­gag­ing in “ex­tra­or­di­nary collection prac­tices.”

Providers should dis­close any fi­nan­cial re­la­tion­ships with lend­ing in­sti­tu­tions, such as paid en­dorse­ments from med­i­cal credit card com­pa­nies.

Hos­pi­tals should clearly com­mu­ni­cate the in­ter­est rate, fees and penal­ties as­so­ci­ated with pay­ment plans they of­fer.

Providers should no­tify con­sumers at what point their ac­count might be turned over to a collection agency.

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