Morris Hospital Financial Assistance Program: Easing the Financial Burden of Medical Care
Morris Hospital is trying to change some misconceptions about its financial assistance program. While the program has been in place many years to help ease financial burdens for patients, in recent years the program has expanded to include financial relief for both self-pay and insured families who are as much as 600 percent above the federal poverty guideline.
To put that in perspective, a single person with an income of up to $74,940 would qualify for discounted or free care. So would a family of four with a household income of up to $154,500.
“We understand medical bills can get vast,” says Alex Blumenshine, Director of Patient Financial Services at Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers. “While we’re here to provide excellent clinical service, we also want to be sure the financial component of healthcare is never a burden for a patient or their family.”
“It just goes back to who we are,” Blumenshine adds. “First and foremost, our mission is to serve the needs of our community and provide care regardless of a person’s ability to pay. That’s why we are committed to offering a generous financial assistance program that offers relief for those who might need assistance paying their medical bills.”
Kathy Roundtree, financial assistance counselor at Morris Hospital, says the patients who qualify and receive financial assistance range from those who are simply trying to minimize their financial burdens to those who are truly overwhelmed in the wake of unexpected medical expenses.
She specifically recalled a single mother who came to the hospital to find out if she qualified for financial assistance. The mother, who was hesitant to ask for help, had opted for a large deductible insurance plan to keep her premiums low because she felt she was generally “healthy.” When she had unexpected emergency surgery, she had a large deductible to pay that was beyond her means.
“There’s a story behind each financial assistance application,” Roundtree says. “It might be a story of someone struggling, or someone just needing a little help. Each story demonstrates how much this program helps our community and how lucky I am to be a part of helping them.”
While anyone who is seen at a Morris Hospital facility is eligible to apply for financial assistance, the extent of the financial relief is determined by family size and adjusted gross income.
When looking at the number of people who qualify, Blumenshine believes Morris Hospital’s financial assistance program sets itself apart. He says many hospitals only grant assistance to insured patients who are 200 percent above the federal poverty guidelines.
“We don’t feel the need to differentiate,” he says. “We allow any and all patients, whether insured or uninsured, to receive a discount that is up to 600 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. In our surrounding area, it’s pretty unique to offer those with insurance the same amount of reduction in balance compared as those without insurance.”
Once a patient is approved for assistance, the Financial Assistance Program covers all medically necessary or emergency care for up to one year from the first date of service. Elective procedures are not covered under the program.
Patients have 240 days from the first date of service to apply for financial assistance and can reapply on a yearly basis. All applications require income verification through tax returns and pay stubs.
To learn more about the Morris Hospital financial assistance program or to download an application, please visit www.morrishospital.org/financialassistance.
HOW TO APPLY FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
To apply for financial assistance on services received at any Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers facility, please complete a financial assistance application and submit it to the Patient Financial Services office at Morris Hospital. Financial assistance applications can be obtained at the following locations:
- Morris Hospital or any of its 25 locations
- By calling 815-942-2932, Ext. 4