Will Patients Have 240 Days To Pay Bills? Hospitals Await Decision from IRS
The IRS is considering instituting a mandatory grace period for patients with delinquent bills at non-profit hospitals.
For context, non-profit hospitals are required already to offer financial assistance to a subset of its patient population that qualify based on income, insurance coverage and other factors.
This proposed 240 day IRS rule goes one step further by preventing non-profit hospitals from engaging in what is considered “extraordinary collection activities” until the completion of four financial assistance tasks:
- Offer patients a simplified summary of the hospital’s financial assistance policy before discharge as well as the first three bills.
- Offer the patient at least 120 days after the 1st bill to request an application for financial assistance BEFORE taking certain collection actions.
- Give an additional 120 days to submit a completed application
- If patients are eligible for financial assistance, refund any excess payments and reverse all collection actions.
This decision is controversial as many hospitals consider the rule too “aggressive” in delaying collections. In contrast, consumer advocacy groups want even more protections for patients.
Non-profit providers would be well served to become familiar with this pending legislation as it has the potential to change drastically how patient revenue collection will work in the future.
To see the full article at Forbes see here.