What’s Charity Care? Do You Qualify?
Are you uninsured and having trouble paying your medical bills? You may be wondering if you qualify for charity care.
Charity care is health care provided for at no cost or a reduced cost to patients who have no health insurance and can’t afford to pay. There’s no Florida law mandating how much charity care hospitals must offer. But fortunately, many Tampa Bay hospitals and medical facilities do offer charity care to qualifying patients. You can find out more information on their websites. We’ve summarized the charity care policies of local hospitals as of the time of publication.
Baycare Health System
For BayCare hospitals, Baycare says that you will owe nothing if your annual household income is less than 250% of the current Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and no additional insurance payments are expected. This does not include flat rate pricing packages, cosmetic procedures or ancillary providers. If you qualify for financial assistance, all collection efforts will stop. BayCare’s Financial Assistance Application can be downloaded on its website.
Tampa General Hospital
Tampa General Hospital says that you will not be billed if your income is 200% or less of the current FPL. Charity eligibility will be considered for six months from the date of eligibility.
Charity Catastrophic: You will not be billed if your income is under 400% FPL and your hospital charges are greater than 25% of your annual income.
Uninsured Discount Tier 1: TGH says that if your annual income is between 200 and 400% of the FPL, you will owe about what an average Medicare or managed care insurance plan would pay.
Uninsured Discount Tier 2: TGH says that if your annual income is over 400% of the FPL, you will owe about 115% of what an average Medicare or managed care insurance plan would pay.
AdventHealth says that if you receive emergency or medically necessary services and do not have medical coverage from a commercial insurer or governmental program, you may qualify for financial assistance. If your annual income is 200% or less of the FPL, you will not have to pay. If your income does not meet the guidelines to have your entire bill paid, you may still qualify for help paying part of your bill. You may also qualify based on other factors on your application.
Charity Care and Collection
The Affordable Care Act implemented some rules that apply to tax-exempt charitable hospitals in an effort to ensure that patients’ bills aren’t sent to collections until after the hospital determines whether the patient is eligible for charity care.
Federal law requires a hospital organization to make reasonable efforts to determine whether an individual is eligible for assistance under the hospital organization’s financial assistance policy (FAP) before engaging in extraordinary collection actions (ECAs) against that individual.
A hospital facility is responsible for the ECAs of third parties collecting debt on its behalf or to which it sells debt. The hospital facility is deemed to have engaged in an ECA against the individual to obtain payment for the care, or to have taken one or more steps necessary to have made reasonable efforts to determine whether an individual is FAP-eligible for the care, if any purchaser of the individual’s debt, any debt collection agency or other party to which the hospital facility has referred the individual’s debt, or any substantially-related entity has engaged in such an ECA or taken steps (whichever is applicable).
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When you have medical debt, and you’re being harassed, you need to call Manta Law. We will give you a free case evaluation, and you won’t owe us anything unless we recover money for you.
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