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New Illinois Law Lowers Hospital Costs for Under and Uninsured Patients

Chicago Defender Online, News Report, Wendell Hutson Posted: Apr 09, 2009

A new Illinois law went into effect April 1 that affords the uninsured and working poor the same discount on their hospital bills that those with insurance enjoy.

The Hospital Uninsured Patient Discount Act was sponsored by state Rep. Karen May, D-13th District.

This is an issue of basic fairness. The uninsured are the only people who are billed the full sticker price for hospital care, May said. Eligible residents will now be able to receive a hospital bill closer to what everyone else is paying. It's an issue I've been working on for nearly three years.

May added that the new law would also offer significant discounts to patients. Furthermore, it would reduce charges for uninsured patients and prevent discriminatory pricing based on a patient's insurance status.

Health care leaders said with so many people losing their jobs, the new law couldn't have come at a better time.

As a critical part of the health care safety net for the uninsured, Illinois hospitals have always known firsthand the plight of the uninsured, said Ken Robbins, president of the Illinois Hospital Association.

Now, with growing numbers of people becoming unemployed and uninsured, this law meets a societal need that is more critical than ever.

Related Articles:

Illinois Latinos, Blacks Experiencing High Health Disparities

The Medical Crisis in Immigration Detention

New Study: U.S. Health System Bleak and Broken for Those Chronically Ill

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