Hospitals in New Jersey are required to follow all state laws around collecting debt and pursuing unpaid bills. They are also required to provide charity health care to low-income, underinsured and uninsured patients. In addition, the state has created laws to limit medical bills for uninsured patients. The state also helps by creating regulations to protect patients from illegal or aggressive medical debt collectors.
Assistance comes in many forms. The Hospital Care Payment Assistance Program is one of the laws in place, and the second rule to protect families is known as Public Law 2008. So patients are provided the following assistance.
New Jersey residents who are eligible for free health care can’t be billed and they can’t be subject to medical debt collection practices. They are protected from the the agencies that perform this activity. For those patients who are eligible for health care on a sliding scale, the medical provider or hospital may not bill or begin collection procedures on any unpaid medical debt for the portion of the unpaid bill that is supposed to be covered by the free charity care program. This minimizes the amount of money that the resident owes. They need to stop their debt collection activities.
In order to prevent future debt, laws in effect require that health care providers notify incoming patients about the availability of free or discounted charity care. The person needs to be notified of these services at the time of their admittance and before the service is performed. They also need to show them how to apply for medical bill help.
If this can’t be done for some reason, the notification must occur when the person receives the bills. In addition, hospitals located in New Jersey need to also post notices about the charity care programs they offer. This notice needs to be done throughout the center in easy to find locations throughout the hospital.
Current regulations prohibit hospitals in New Jersey from charging uninsured patients whose gross household income is below 500 percent of the federal government poverty level. This prevents them from incurring excessive health care debts, and therefore protects them from the more aggressive collection processes. Medical providers are limited to charging more than 15 percent above the applicable Medicare reimbursement rates.
The state requires that hospitals provide free or discounted charity care to families and individual, including free medications, with incomes up to 300 percent of the poverty. The program that oversees this is the New Jersey Hospital Care Payment Assistance Program. There are also some asset tests before someone is considered eligible for this program.
If you are a patient and your income is below 200 percent of the government poverty levels, you will get free health care as per New Jersey Public Law 2008. The rule also regulates what a hospital billing department can due to collect a debt. It regulates the time of when they can call, ensures payment plans are offered, and provides other protections to families in New Jersey.
The law in place will save consumers a significant amount of money on their medical bills. It also cuts back on the stress of dealing with collection companies. In addition to that requirement, families or individuals with with household incomes between 200 and 300 percent of poverty levels receive discounted medical care.
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