In a move with far-reaching effects on folks who don’t have health insurance, two large Illinois hospital systems have agreed to settle lawsuits alleging they overcharged tens of thousands of uninsured patients and provided inadequate financial assistance. As part of the agreements, Resurrection Health Care and Advocate Health Care are offering to recalculate patients’ bills and give refunds to needy patients eligible for free or discounted medical care. Resurrection also will extend a discount of 25% to anyone who is uninsured, regardless of income – a move thought to be unprecedented in Illinois. Resurrection owns eight hospitals in the Chicago area and is the state’s largest chain of Catholic medical centers. A Cook County circuit judge has approved Resurrection’s settlement. Advocate’s settlement is expected to receive court approval in March.
Resurrection has sent notices to 220,000 patients informing them of the settlement terms and the opportunity to apply for financial relief on outstanding or past bills. Advocate, which operates nine hospitals, has notified 170,000 patients. Starting last month, Resurrection’s hospitals also have broadened discounts available to uninsured patients. And for the first time, Resurrection is placing annual limits on what the uninsured will be asked to pay for hospital services in a year. The limits are more generous than those laid out in a new Illinois law that caps hospital payments for people without health insurance at 25% of income. That law goes into effect April 1st.
Source: Chicago Tribune
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