Clinic for financially needy part of aid program

Health insurance plan’ targets working uninsured

As part of the financial aid program at the New Orleans-based Touro Infirmary, there is a clinic for uninsured or underinsured patients, says Beth Keith, CHAM, director of patient business services.

Patients may use the facility if family size and income do not exceed 200% of federal poverty guidelines, she explains, and are offered a 65% discount.

All other patient accounts are handled through a normal collection process, Keith adds, with four statements sent over a period of 120 days. If no response is received, those accounts are turned over to a collection agency, she notes.

"[Patients] have 90 days in which to resolve accounts that are in bad debt without being reported to a credit bureau," Keith says. "If they do not respond by that time, they are assigned to a second-level collection agency and will be reported to the credit bureau."

For the past three years, she notes, Touro Infirmary has offered a "health membership plan" for the working uninsured. After signing up for the program through the facility’s marketing department, patients may receive hospital services for a 50% discount, Keith says. Some of facility’s affiliated physicians offer a 25% discount to people who are signed up for the program, which is called Touro for Health, she adds.

As with an insurance company, Keith notes, the charges are discounted at the time of billing.