Tax-exempt hospitals revamped their charity care insurance policies through the pandemic, in some instances utilizing imprecise language to explain who was eligible and sometimes tightening entry primarily based on immigration standing, in line with an evaluation in JAMA Community Open.
Why it issues: Security web hospitals play a key position in low-income communities and use charity care as a justification for sustaining their tax-exempt standing. The Inexpensive Care Act requires them to determine and publicize monetary help insurance policies.
By the numbers: The 151 hospitals surveyed largely expanded eligibility between 2019 and 2021 with extra beneficiant earnings cutoffs or discounted care.
- However 7.9% made insurance policies extra restrictive, by means of steps like excluding non-U.S. residents or specifying how lengthy an individual needed to stay within the nation to qualify for charity care.
- Some hospitals additionally excluded protection of contraception or providers to sufferers within the custody of regulation enforcement.
- The imprecise language in lots of hospital eligibility tips “limits sufferers’ understanding of charity care insurance policies and should conceal coverage modifications over time,” the authors wrote.
The underside line: The evaluation did not present ample proof that hospital consolidation and Medicaid enlargement may result in the enlargement of charity care and extra beneficiant charity care insurance policies, the researchers mentioned.