KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Many Americans are struggling to pay off medical bills, but a new website might help cut those costs down.
When Mattawan native Nick McLaughlin’s grandfather got a $750 medical bill, he started looking at what options were out there.
“I said hey grandpa any chance you qualify for financial assistance, and he didn't really know what that meant. Most people don't,” McLaughlin said.
“The Affordable Care Act actually had a little-known piece of the law, that required nonprofit hospitals to write up financial assistance policy, which includes eligibility information for patients can qualify for the discounts that they offer. And they're also required to publish these policies online,” McLaughlin explained.
His grandfather qualified for 100 % assistance.
In fact, McLaughlin who has a background in the healthcare finance industry says the majority of people in our area, qualify for some help.
“We ran the numbers on Grand Rapids area zip codes and based on household size and income data, 66% of Grand Rapids households would qualify based on based on the current financial assistance policies at Spectrum Metro, and Mercy,” he added.
This week McLaughlin launched his website HospitalFA.com.
It’s pretty straight forward and completely free to use, all you have to do is answer a few questions including your income, insurance status, and how much you owe at which hospital.
In a couple minutes it will tell you if you qualify.
“Applying for financial assistance is a, is another hurdle, and you're absolutely welcome to do that directly at the hospital, have all those processes in place but there can be a lot of delays, and it's almost entirely paperwork. So we also created a way for patients to securely submit an application directly through the website,” McLaughlin added.
Think of it like Turbo Tax for the hospital’s financial assistance application.
It will cost you $29 but McLaughlin says it saves a lot of hassle and within 30 days you’ll get an answer from your hospital.
Something he believes benefits both patients and health systems alike.
“Health systems are very interested in keeping their patients healthy and taking great care of them. And the whole reason we exist is to remove the financial stress of getting medical care. And I believe that hospitals want to come along with us in that mission,” he added.
If you have medical bills and want to know if you qualify for financial assistance you can head to the website, to get started right away.
The company can also be reached on the phone at 1-888-336-5536.
And you can always inquire with your local hospital.