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Restrictions on Illinois hospitals collecting from the uninsured

It is an unfortunate fact of modern economies that the costs of services tend to rise over time. This is especially true of necessary services such as medical care. Even though such costs have risen at a slower rate recently than prior to 2010, expenses remain high for certain types of care. And, while the number of people who are uninsured has dropped dramatically in recent years, there are still those without medical insurance, a population which may rise in the near future, given the uncertainty about federal law in this area.

Having no health insurance, however, does not protect one from being injured or becoming ill. When such injury or illness requires a hospital stay, especially a lengthy one, the out-of-pocket expense to an uninsured patient can be catastrophic. For most Illinois residents in this situation, the possibility of paying such a sum all at once is out of the question.

Luckily, there are some requirements that Illinois hospitals need to meet before they can begin collections activity against a patient. The hospital involved must give an uninsured patient the opportunity to check that the bill is accurate, apply for any available financial aid, and agree to a payment plan that is reasonable. To apply for financial aid or ask for a payment plan, the patient may be required to cooperate and disclose certain financial information to the hospital. Of course, if the patient has agreed to a payment plan and failed to make payments, the hospital may proceed with collection.

Dealing with the repercussions of a hospital stay when a person is uninsured can be a difficult and stressful time. The amount of medical debt accumulated may make things appear hopeless. However, it may be possible to work out a payment plan, or failing that, receive some relief from a debt through bankruptcy or other legal proceeding. Those in this situation may wish to consider consulting an experienced Illinois lawyer.

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