Hospital Financial Assistance
Worried about your hospital bills? Need financial help?
In Colorado, hospitals are required to offer financial assistance programs for qualifying people. Every hospital is supposed to have an established discount program for uninsured patients that earn less than 250% of the Federal Poverty Level (click here to see if your income qualifies). If you qualify, you shouldn’t have to pay more than the lowest negotiated rate paid by an insurance company. This is a minimum standard, though, and some hospitals have financial assistance programs that provide more generous relief for more people. So be sure to ask about your financial assistance options.
By law, every Colorado hospital must…
- Make information about their financial assistance programs available in waiting rooms, on bills, and online; Find hospital-specific information here
- Screen you for their financial assistance program to see if you qualify; and
- Offer reasonable payment plans, allowing a thirty-day grace period after a first missed payment, before sending you to collections.
If the hospital doesn’t offer you this information, be sure to ask!
You can also check the hospital website at any time to see if you qualify for their hospital specific financial assistance program—some cover people who make more than 250% FPL, and some may cover people who are insured. It never hurts to check!
To learn more about hospital-specific financial assistance and charity care programs go here.
File a Complaint
If you feel you did not receive the above information regarding financial assistance and payment plan options, or were not offered a discount on your charges if you are low-income (250% of FPL) and uninsured, you should file a complaint with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Hospitals must screen patients for eligibility for other kinds of assistance programs in Colorado as well, including:
Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program)
Health First Colorado is a public insurance option for children, adults, and pregnant women. The household income limits vary from 133% of the Federal Poverty Level for adults up to 195% of the Federal Poverty Level for pregnant women.
Child Health Plus Plan (CHP+)
CHP+ is a public insurance option for children 18 and younger and pregnant women who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to purchase private insurance. The upper income limit is 260% of the Federal Poverty Level.
Colorado Indigent Care Program (CICP)
CICP provides discounted services to low income Coloradans who are not eligible for Medicaid or CHP+. CICP is not insurance. Each hospital can decide whether or not to participate, and which services will be covered under CICP. Besides emergency care, some hospitals may use CICP to cover urgent care, inpatient hospital care, primary care and prescription drugs while others may not.
To learn more about these programs, eligibility and benefits go here.
The public health and economic crises that have been created by the COVID-19 pandemic have created a great deal of uncertainty and highlighted the need for a robust and responsive safety net. In Colorado and across the country, government, business, the nonprofit sector and, of course, the health care system are rapidly responding with ways to assist. The following is a list of resources for accessing health coverage and health care.
Sometimes, people get care from a health care provider such as a doctor, anesthesiologist, or radiologist, who is not in their health insurance plan’s network even though the care they received was at an in-network facility. This can happen if you have surgery at an in-network facility and it turns out that someone on the surgical team, like the anesthesiologist or surgical assistant, is not. It can also happen if you go to an emergency room that is in your network and the doctor who takes care of you does not accept your insurance. After the services are received, you might get a bill in the mail saying you owe the out-of-network provider money. This is called a “balance bill”.
Do you have any questions or issues with your current health care coverage?
CCHI has created a series of informative videos to provide consumers with the best contacts and resources to help them resolve their issue. You can watch the videos below or view/download our one page overview.
Are you uninsured, looking for health coverage and wondering about your options? There are many programs that can help you with health care costs. Find the programs that best meet your needs.
This guide will help you understand your options for getting health insurance for you and your family in Colorado, either through a job or on your own.