ICIRR, Legal Council for Health Justice, and Community Catalyst have released a report, Crisis in the Shadows: Medical Debt in Illinois. The report discusses the impact of medical debt on communities across the U.S. and Illinois, with a disproportionate impact on Black and Brown residents. Advocates propose hospital screening for hospital financial assistance and eligible public health insurance for uninsured patients as a solution to prevent medical debt.
A preventative approach to medical debt in Illinois
New research further confirms the growth of data showing the devastating impact of medical debt across the nation, with particular and disproportionate impact on low-income immigrant and Black populations. Many uninsured patients qualify for some form of financial assistance, but the responsibility falls on individual patients to be familiar with what they are eligible for and to navigate what is often a complex application process. If uninsured patients are proactively screened for healthcare coverage options and financial assistance options, many would likely qualify, protecting them from medical debt and, in many cases, providing healthcare entities with important reimbursement streams for care provided. Following the lead of other states, Illinois advocates are educating policymakers on the benefits of hospital screening as a solution to prevent medical debt for patients. Read the full report to learn more.