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  • Emilee Lord

Nonprofit Hospitals Legally Required to Offer Financial Assistance to Many Americans

Did you know that all nonprofit hospitals in the United States are required to provide financial assistance to people living up to 200% above the Federal Poverty Line?


This means patients who have had a financial emergency, lack insurance, and cannot get needed medical services from any other source may be eligible for free or discounted care.


For example, Ochsner Health is a nonprofit hospital in Louisiana that provides financial assistance under the Affordable Care Act. 26 U.S. Code § 501r.

This assistance covers a 100% Financial Assistance discount for eligible services to patients whose Family Income is at 200% of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) Guidelines or less. The current FPL for a family of 4 is $26,500, meaning any family with an income of less than $53,000 is eligible for complete Financial Assistance.


If your family makes over 200% of the FPL, you may still be able to access financial assistance. Ochsner’s policy also covers discounted assistance for patients whose family income exceeds 200% of the FPL based on their specific circumstances, such as catastrophic illness or medical indigence, at the discretion of Ochsner.


Though you may not live near Ochsner Health, chances are you do live near another nonprofit hospital. As of 2020, there are 2,946 nonprofit hospitals in the United States and all of them are legally obligated to provide qualifying patients with charity care.


Though many people qualify for charity care, only nonprofit hospitals are required to provide it. You can find out whether or not your hospital is a nonprofit by visiting its website and checking the About section, or by calling the billing department.


You can also see how much financial assistance you qualify for by searching the name of your hospital and “Financial Assistance Policy”. It is important to note that not all physicians and treatments are covered under this policy. For a list of exclusions, you can review your hospital’s Financial Assistance policy in full.


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