How much help can you get for medical bills at midstate health systems?

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jun 30, 2016 7:51 PM

(Harrisburg) -- How much help can you get with your medical bills?

It depends on your income, and the health system you use.

A federal rule change is putting the spotlight on whether non-profit hospitals live up to their mission.

The Internal Revenue Service is now requiring hospitals offer clear and concise financial assistance policies.

Lancaster General Health provides breaks on medically necessary treatment for uninsured people who make up to 400 percent of the federal poverty line.

That's about $48,000 for a single person, or $97,000 for a family of four.

Penn State Health is nearly in line with LGH's policyIt's decided to provide free medically necessary care to people who make up to 300 percent of the poverty line.

Penn State Health's Rhea Heath says it's a win-win, as it helps the community and the health system.

"It's actually, from an organizational perspective, budget neutral. It's sad to say, but they're not paying for their care now. So instead of providing financial assistance, those accounts are just going to bad debt and are most likely written off," says Heath.

"So we are covering a broader patient population and able to provide a greater degree of financial assistance for a larger patient population. It does reduce some of the administrative cost, but that was not by any means, a driver."

PinnacleHealth is pretty much in line with Penn State Health's financial assistance policy, while WellSpan is more strict about how much help it offers.

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