HB 2889: Medical Care Safeguards for Uninsured

U.S.A. Pennsylvania


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from psna e-newsletter:

rep. george unveils first medical care safeguards for uninsured

state rep. camille "bud" george, d-74 of clearfied county today unveiled his initiative to make health care more affordable and accessible to the estimated 1.4 million uninsured pennsylvanians.

"pennsylvania must not make victims out of the multitude of vulnerable residents lacking health insurance," rep. george said. "my hb 2889 would enable the uninsured to pay no more than what a resident with health insurance would pay and to be apprised of any assistance or discounts available to them."

hb 2889 would:

  • establish minimum hospital discount programs for eligible self-pay patients. income limits would be based on 250 percent of the federal poverty level, or $23,275 for an individual and $31,000 for a couple.

  • require that the discount price not exceed the lowest-priced insurance reimbursement accepted by the hospital or the approved medicare price if an insurance-reimbursement rate is not available for a procedure.

  • ensure that uninsured patients are notified of all available programs, credits and discounts.

the legislation affects hospitals receiving money underpennsylvania 's hospital uncompensated care program, and mirrors many of the charity care guidelines endorsed by the hospital & healthsystem association of pennsylvania and other groups.

"i hope we could build a safety-net consensus to make sure that no uninsured pennsylvanian is ever charged many times more than what an insured individual pays for a medical procedure," said rep. george, noting the spate of lawsuits filed against hospitals in pennsylvania and across the nation alleging unconscionable overcharging of the uninsured.

"house bill 2889 is not a cure-all; it simply protects our most vulnerable citizens at a time when our health-care crisis continues to spiral out of control," rep. george said. "much work is needed to help our hospitals and health-care workers providing countless millions of dollars in uncompensated charity care and businesses struggling to offer or maintain health-care benefits."

rep. george noted that the u.s. department of health and human services has informed hospitals that they may provide lower prices or discounts for patients on limited incomes, and discounts for the uninsured have been proposed in proposed in florida, ny and other states.

rep. george's long-standing legislative efforts in health-care reform include boosting physician recruitment in medically underserved areas, grants to non-profit groups helping the needy obtain medicines through drug company programs, and expanding pace, the pharmaceutical assistance contract for the elderly.

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