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An uninsured consumer called our office looking for help paying bills to two hospitals. He had been placed into collections but he had received no information about financial assistance. He made $17,000 last year; not wealthy by any means but ineligible for SAGA. He has no children, so doesn’t qualify for HUSKY. I called Milford Hospital first on his behalf. The billing person I spoke to was not helpful, stating that information on their financial assistance program was printed on the back of the bill – a provision that she feels complies with CT laws requiring notification. When I pushed the issue, she wanted my name, organization and title. She read the notice from the back of the bill that my client would have received – it was the CT General Statute word-for-word. Anyone who has read CT state law knows that they are not even close to understandable. She informed me that it is hospital policy that they cannot even send a financial assistance application until the patient has applied for HUSKY and SAGA, been denied, and presented the hospital with a denial letter – something that was not explained in the notice she read me. I explained that my client is clearly not eligible for either program and this policy only creates a needless hurdle for him and senseless paperwork for DSS workers who have better uses for their time. She just kept saying that it was hospital policy and that they would have told him the policies if he had called them. I asked her to call him and later got a call back from her to let me know that she’d left him a message. (I’d already called to tell him what he needed to do.) Next I called the Hospital of St. Raphael; they just asked for his address and will send him an application packet right away.
Ellen Andrews