Humboldt General Announces Increase in Charity Care Program

If you don't have health insurance—or even if you do—Humboldt General Hospital might be able to help with your medical expenses.

March 1, the hospital kicked off an expanded Charity Care program that may cover your inpatient and/or outpatient hospital-related charges partially or in full.

All told, the new Charity Care program will expand eligibility from 144 percent of Federal Poverty Limits to 400 percent. Under the new guidelines, a family of four in Humboldt County could earn over $70,000 in annual income and still qualify.

Humboldt General Hospital CEO/Administrator Jim Parrish said the expanded policy is the facility's way of funneling help to those most in need.

Parrish said the hospital considered many options for extending help to local residents, including cutting prices and/or providing large discounts for Humboldt County residents.

"But nearly every one of those scenarios resulted in big savings for insurance companies," he said, "and that's not who we wanted to help."

Parrish said the idea of augmenting the current Charity Care policy came as a "wonderful solution."

"It's a percentage based on income," he said, "so it's relative to each household and their individual circumstances."

He continued, "Plus, even if you are tens of thousands of dollars above the federal poverty level, you still may qualify."

Applicants will be expected to exhaust all other payment sources as a condition for approval. For example, those who are eligible for Medicaid or Medicare will be required to apply for those programs before seeking Charity Care.

Additionally, the Charity Care program will not pay for any amounts that are already covered by Medicare, Medicaid or health insurance.

But residents are eligible to apply to help cover insurance deductibles and co-payments and/or amounts that are not covered by other payment sources.

And Parrish promises the process will be painless.

"It's a quick application," he said. "We just need proof of income, or lack thereof, and the members of our Patient Access to Healthcare team will help residents quickly understand their eligibility status."

Parrish said the hospital is expecting to offer approximately $4.3 million in discounted care over the first year of the program.

If needed, the Humboldt County Hospital Board of Trustees can further increase the policy to 450 percent to 500 percent of poverty level, "if we aren't doing enough," said Parrish. "Or, if it's too much and we're way over budget, we can bring it back down to 200 percent or 300 percent."

The hospital is currently accepting Charity Care applications for care provided since March 1 in any HGH department, or for future scheduled care. Please stop by the hospital any time between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss eligibility with a Patient Access to Healthcare representative, or call (775) 623-5222, ext. 533 for more information or to schedule an appointment.