Credit freezes are free under a federal law that just went into effect. Learn how to protect your credit.
by Sid Kirchheimer, From the AARP Bulletin Print Edition, June 1, 2009
Q. My husband had emergency surgery recently. We don’t have health insurance. The hospital staff told us we didn’t qualify for any financial help because we made too much money, but never asked what our income was. They want the bill paid now. What can we do?
A. Hospitals that receive federal funding are required to provide care to a percentage of their patients without health insurance coverage. Most offer so-called charity care until the hospital has reached its annual limit. Find out if the hospital gets federal funding. If so, it’s required to give you the application for charity care. Ask to talk to someone in the hospital’s business office, patient services department or social work department. You might also contact your state’s health department to see if your income qualifies you for charity care, and your state’s human services or social services agency to learn if your income qualifies you for other benefits. The federal government also suggests, at answers.usa.gov, that you ask the hospital to reduce its rates and work out a monthly payment plan.
Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer and health issues.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Enter address, city, state, or ZIP code.
Driver Safety (0)
Tax Aide (0)
Entertainment & Dining (0)
Healthcare & Insurance (0)
Financial Services & Insurance (0)
Member Local Offers (0)
Visit the AARP state page for information about events, news and resources near you.
Exclusive program for members from OptumRx.
Members get 10% off monthly fees, plus free installation and package savings on a safety monitoring system.
Members can take a free confidential hearing test by phone.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at