Ballad Health announces efforts to reduce costs for low-income patients, expand free care

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Ballad Health announced Monday that they will be taking steps to reduce expenses for patients with low incomes and high insurance company deductibles.

According to a release from Ballad Health, some of the steps being taken include:

  • Increasing the discount off charges for uninsured patients at physician practices, urgent cares, diagnostics and hospitals to 85%. These discounts are effective immediately.
  • Starting April 1, “presumptive eligibility” will be available for patients who could be eligible for free care or discounts under Ballad’s expanded charity policy.
  • Patient financial navigators will continue to be available to patients to aid in finding options and applying for financial assistance programs.

Ballad Health officials state the discounts will also apply to out-of-pocket expenses for insured patients.

Ballad reports that in addition to helping uninsured families and individuals, the new steps also assist insured patients with incomes of up to 450% of the federal poverty level and who have had to deal with higher deductibles and co-pays.

“The steps being announced by Ballad Health today are intended to be helpful to the people in our region, but they are in no way a long-term solution to the affordability crisis in healthcare,” said Ballad Health Chairman and CEO Alan Levine. “The ongoing shifting of costs by insurers to patients is unfair, and it is certainly not reasonable to expect patients and rural and non-urban hospitals to shoulder the burden of the cost. There has to be a better long-term solution.”

According to the release, an average 17% price reduction for all physician practices and urgent cares was announced in September 2019.

The reduction increased the discount for uninsured people to 77%, according to Ballad.

For more information on financial assistance, click here.

Ballad Health’s chargemasters have been updated in accordance with these changes.

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