In September, UVA Health announced significant changes to their billing and collections practices that will provide greater options for low-income patients and patients without health insurance to pay medical bills. Some of the highlights of these changes include:
Going beyond state reimbursement rules and providing additional relief
Currently, patients at or below the federal poverty level who fail to meet the state asset test ($3,200 for a family of four) only receive a 20% discount on medical bills. Under the new financial aid parameters, patients at or below the federal poverty level who have less than $50,000 in assets will have their bills written off entirely. Note that a home, a car, and up to 3.99 acres of land are not included in the calculation of assets.
Rather than utilizing lawsuits, property liens, and garnishing wages, UVA will focus on working out a reasonable repayment plan. UVA will generally only file suit for those cases involving balances over $1,000 owed by individuals earning over 400% of the federal poverty level (which is $103,000 for a family of four)
Recalculating billing rates for low-income and non-insured patients
For patients between 101-200% of the federal poverty level, UVA currently uses a sliding scale for billing, depending on income. (200% of the federal poverty line is roughly $25,000 for an individual and $51,500 for a family of four). Patients in this income bracket who have less than $50,000 in assets will also have their bills written off entirely. Read more about changes to UVA’s financial assistance policies.
Additional improvements to billing and collections practices are being examined. To ensure all perspectives are considered, UVA Health has established a 16-person advisory council that will provide insights and recommendations to help UVA build on its current proposed changes to better serve patients and the community. The advisory council is made up of community leaders from social services, the faith-based community, schools and healthcare, as well as UVA students and staff.
New financial aid parameters will go into effect beginning January 1, 2020.
If you have a patient struggling to pay their UVA medical bill, encourage them to reach out to UVA by calling 434.980.6110 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.