KALAMAZOO, Mich., Dec. 5, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A comprehensive survey recently conducted by Breez Health, a company committed to helping both patients and hospitals navigate financial assistance programs, found that 53% of American adults are either unaware or unsure such programs exist. The findings are released today in a report titled “Why Hospitals Must Reimagine Financial Assistance Before It’s Too Late.”
The Affordable Care Act mandates that the roughly 3,000 nonprofit hospitals in the United States offer and publicize financial assistance programs. These programs help patients gain access to affordable care, and prevent them from being burdened by medical bills they cannot afford to pay.
While only 14% of the survey’s 2,000 respondents have ever applied for hospital financial assistance, 37% said medical debt has impacted or is currently impacting their ability to afford basic necessities like rent, groceries and utilities. Medical debt remains the leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S.
“Nonprofit hospitals have been working tirelessly to get the most advanced technology and top specialists into their facilities, so they can better serve patients,” says Breez CEO Nick McLaughlin. “But there’s still an area that nonprofit hospitals have yet to perfect — financial assistance programs. Hospital operations are vastly complex, resources are limited, and many hospitals are actively working to make improvements. Breez is helping to simplify and streamline this process for the benefit of both hospitals and patients.”
While the thresholds vary from location to location, the eligibility for these programs can extend well into the middle class. In many places, a four-person household earning $120,000 is eligible for substantial discounts and this even extends to $150,000 for some hospitals.
Survey respondents who knew of the programs offered many reasons for not applying for hospital assistance. Nearly a quarter believed their income was too high, 19% did not believe they could apply because of the insurance they had through their employer, and 14% said application requirements were too complex. Another 14% said they didn’t feel comfortable accepting charity.
“It’s time to shed the outdated label of ‘charity care’ and embrace the term ‘hospital financial assistance,’ as it’s both more accurate and empowering,” McLaughlin says. “This reflects the mission of nonprofit hospitals to care for their communities, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. When patients use financial assistance, they are not receiving a handout. They are participating in a system that is an integral part of the financial fabric and mission of nonprofit hospitals.”
Breez Health is part of Goodroot, a community of companies reinventing healthcare one system at a time with a shared mission of increasing affordability and access.
“Nick spent more than a decade working in hospital billing and revenue cycles, so he saw firsthand the way medical bills and medical debt were affecting everyday Americans,” says Goodroot CEO Mike Waterbury. “He also saw a very fixable problem that had solutions already in place that just needed improvement. Streamlining hospital financial assistance programs and making them easily accessible maximizes revenue opportunities for hospitals and delivers affordable care to patients.”
About Breez Health
Breez Health’s mission is to make financial assistance easy and accessible at every nonprofit hospital in America. With deep industry knowledge, Breez acts as a strategic advisor to hospitals, helping them design and implement better financial assistance programs and providing consulting, technology and support services to ensure ongoing success for both patients and hospitals. www.BreezHealth.com
SOURCE Breez Health