Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) introduced legislation which provides a financial solution for uninsured Americans seeking medical procedures by hospitals.
The Protect the Uninsured Act of 2019 would amend Title XI of the Social Security Act to require hospitals and critical access hospitals to offer the uninsured individual access to the lowest negotiated price for any service or procedure.
“Hospitals are supposed to take care of everyone, the uninsured are often saddled with debt far beyond what they can pay while others are receiving steep discounts for the same procedures,” Collins said. “People are putting their health at risk by avoiding important procedures due to inflated costs while hospitals are writing off uncollected debts as charity work."
Hospitals negotiate discounts with insurance companies to determine costs of procedures or services they are willing to accept. This negotiated discount is subtracted from an inflated total cost of a procedure or service, the individual then pays a copay while the insurance company covers the remaining expenses.
Under current law, an uninsured patient is forced to cover the full cost of the procedure with no discounts, leading to uninsured patients mounting debt or avoiding necessary care.
This legislation will provide financial relief to those who are uninsured by allowing the individual to receive the lowest discount negotiated with an insurance company for a procedure or service by a hospital.