North Carolina Government is Incentivizing Hospitals to Relieve Medical Debt

( – North Carolina’s government is looking to get rid of billions in medical debt from low-income and middle-class homes. The way they plan to do this is by offering a financial incentive for hospitals to remove unpaid bills off the books.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper announced a plan that would have federal Medicaid regulators approve for one hundred hospitals to get even more money, if they have recently expanded their Medicaid reimbursement funds.

In order for these hospitals to qualify, they would have to remove some patient’s medical debt that goes back ten years on current Medicaid enrollees. Non-enrollees can also qualify as long as they make below a certain income or have debt that exceeds five percent of their income.

Following this, hospitals would also have to help low and middle-class patients and provide steep discounts on their medical bills.

“Large medical bills from sickness or injury can cripple the finances of North Carolinians, particularly those who are already struggling. Freeing people from medical debt can be life-changing for families, as well as boost the overall economic health of North Carolina,” Cooper said.

State Health and Human Services Secretary Kody Kinsley said that this decision would put in place a long-term solution for medical debt in the state.

Said Kinsley, “We really wanted to create a more sustainable path forward and not just be one-and-done, but to keep it going.”

These changes for the Healthcare Access and Stabilization Program must be approved by The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. However, the additional forgiveness would not require a new state law or any additional funds from the state.

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