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Science

Lee Memorial Updates Policies For Uninsured Care

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The Lee Memorial Health System is changing its policies for providing free and discounted medical care for the area’s uninsured.

The policy shift moves the hospital group into compliance with Affordable Care Act regulations.

The Affordable Care Act requires nonprofit hospitals make financial assistance program information easier to find. It also regulates how much an eligible patient can be charged.

Lee Memorial is offering to cover 80 or 100 percent of costs based on a patients’ income.

The current program only offers discounts of 30, 40 or 100 percent.

Anne Rose with Lee Memorial said the new policy should allow more patients to pay off their medical bills.

“We felt we wanted to increase the amount of that discount and see if that would actually be a positive and make paying the obligation more - make people more able to do that,” she said.

Lee Memorial is also making information about the program more available. Those changes include translating relevant documents into more languages and making it easier for patients to contact financial counselors.

The policies goes into effect Jan. 1.