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Two Charity Care Bills Pass the Illinois House and Senate

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)
May 30, 2012

Two bills passed the Illinois House and Senate related to the provision of charity care at Illinois non-profit hospitals.  While one bill shows promise for helping patients (SB 3261, House Amendment 2), the other provides little incentive for hospitals to provide charity care to those who qualify.

After months of negotiations which led to little compromise, the Illinois Hospital Association’s proposal for how hospitals can earn and maintain their tax exempt status prevailed in Springfield through the passing of SB 2194, House Amendment 3.  The bill allows hospitals that provide a set of benefits to low-income communities equivalent in value to their estimated property tax liability to receive state tax exempt status.  The benefits include free and discounted care to uninsured and low-income patients, a “subsidy” to the Medicaid program, medical education initiatives, and many other “community benefits.”  The Fair Care Coalition believes this is not the solution intended by the 2010 IL Supreme Court Provena decision.

Separately, SB 3261, House Amendment 2, also passed both houses and sets standard eligibility criteria across all IL hospitals for the provision of free care: 100% discount for patients under 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) in urban areas and under 125% of the FPL in rural and critical access hospital areas.  It also sets in motion rule-making by the Attorney General for developing standard language for charity care applications and processes for determining “presumptive eligibility.”  The Fair Care Coalition believes this is a step in the right direction for helping patients access the care they need.

For more information, please contact Janna at 312-372-4292 ext. 25.