Free healthcare from the Hill-Burton federal program.
The Hill-Burton Act is a federal government program that was created about 60 years ago. It requires various health care facilities, including hospitals and other locations that have been granted federal funds for facility construction, modernization, or reconstruction to provide patients with free or low cost health care services.
This in effect means that if a medical provider receives any type of federal aid, they are required to help patients that have a low income or are underinsured. This is a very important program that can assist people who are living in the facility’s area who can’t otherwise afford to pay for their health care bills and services.
There are some criteria that need to be met in order to be eligible for financial aid. A individual must not be covered by any type of existing health insurance, whether that is a private third-party insurer or a government assistance program such as Medicare or Medicaid. If the families income is less than current Poverty Income Level, that the facility services portion of your medical bill may be free to you. If your household income is greater than but not more than double the amount of the Poverty Income Level, then your health care services may be provided at a reduced charge, maybe free, or possibly full charge. It depends on the facility you are going to.
It is not necessary that applicants to the Hill-Burton Act be U.S. Citizens. Instead, patients who apply need only have been living in the U.S. for a minimum period of 3 months. Keep in mind that Hill-Burton hospitals and facilities must provide a specific amount of free medical care each and every year, but that the facility can stop offering these services once they have given that amount that is required under the law. So this means that some applicants will be turned away.
The hospital bill program and medical assistance provided to patients from the Hill-Burton Act is managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Over 200 health care facilities and hospitals across the nation still provide provide free or reduced-cost care from the program.
Application process at Hill-Burton medical providers
You can’t just walk in an get your bill waived. Health care at a Hill-Burton hospital or facility is not automatically free or reduced-cost. You need to ask for it. As noted above, people will need to apply at the billing department, admissions office or business development office at the facility.
They will review your situation and determine whether you can get free or reduced-cost care. There is flexibility when you need to apply by. You may apply for the program either before or after you receive medical care, and even better, you can even apply after a medical bill has been sent to a debt collection agency. Find other ways to get help with medical debt.
Some hospitals have their own versions and regulations of this program. So the terms and conditions can vary by provider. Some Hill-Burton hospitals may use different eligibility standards and procedures to determine who can get help. The medical facilities may require that you provide documentation that verifies your eligibility for the funds, such as proof of income and residency.
Type of bills that are covered by the Hill-Burton act
Not all medical bills are paid for. Only the facility costs are paid for and not your private doctors' bills. This amount can vary by location. Also, the Hill-Burton locations need to provide a specific amount of free or reduced cost health care each year to people, however they can stop the program once they have given that amount. So this can also limit how much is reimbursed to the patient.
When you do go ahead and apply for Hill-Burton medical care, the obligated facility or hospital needs to provide you with a written statement or documents that tells you what free or reduced-cost care services are available. They will also need to notify the family on what they will get or why they have been denied for the program. Get it in writing.
Find a participating hospital or facility at http://www.hrsa.gov/hillburton/hillburtonfacilities.htm. Currently over 200 facilities and hospitals across the nation participate, and tens of thousands of people each year receive help.