If you have medical debt that was incurred in Washington it’s likely a huge stressor in your life. You may have even already received a Complaint and Summons from a collection agency demanding the full amount plus interest. The medical debt collection industry is quite robust and profitable. It was even the recent subject of an investigative report by John Oliver on Last Week Tonight. Medical debt has become such a problem in American society that non-profits have popped up such as RIP Medical Debt for the sole purpose of buying and forgiving debt. There are many traditional approaches a consumer protection attorney may be able to take such as arguing an end to the statute of limitations period or finding deficiencies in the collection company’s legal fililngs. However, an underutilized but extremely powerful tool in addressing medical debt in Washington is the state’s Charity Care laws.
Charity Care is a mandate that major hospitals offer medically necessary services for a sliding scale if the patient follows the proper procedures. That “if” is very important because most hospitals do not make a habit of informing patients about charity care. Each hospital also has its own unique process for receiving charity care rates and they require different documents to evaluate the patient’s weath to determine if they qualify. To make it even more confusing many hospitals do not refer to their individual process as “charity care,” many refer to the process as “financial assistance,” “bridge assistance,” or some other confusing designation. Further, even if an eligible patient qualifies their application is often wrongfully denied and they must go through an appellate process. In some instances patients have had to sue hospitals for redress. Regardless, it is estimated that the vast majority of the more than half of a million people in Washington who do not have healthcare coverage qualify for charity care – and are entitled to a drastically reduced medical bill as a result.
At Navigate we are knowledgeable about the Charity Care procedures for many different hospitals throughout Washington. If you are already being sued by a collection company that is ok. We have experience stopping the collection procedures to aid a client in their Charity Care application. When you are approved the amount the collection company can take is drastically reduced. We know that medical debt can set peoples’ lives back decades and is often one of the biggest stressors a person has. We are passionate about enforcing people’s rights to reduce their medical debt and get back to their lives.
If you think you may have a claim for charity care you can contact us today.
Every legal issue is very unique. Accordingly, the information in this blog is intended as general education material and not as legal advice. If you think you may have a legal issue you should consult an attorney.