NCHA Statement on Proposal to Ban Medical Bills from Credit Reports

Raleigh, NC – June 13, 2024 — North Carolina hospitals and health systems are committed to every aspect of our patient’s health, including their financial health. We know that financial well-being impacts both the health of a family and a community.   

Consequently, we have always been attentive to and concerned about patients’ medical debt. Hospitals offer generous and transparent financial assistance policies, including discounts and charity care. Dedicated staff are available to assist with questions about medical bills and financial concerns. These services and resources are actively communicated to patients. No matter how generous, hospital financial assistance will never be a substitute for a health insurance plan that covers preventive and necessary care at an affordable price on the front and back end of coverage. 

Today, most people struggling with medical debt are insured. This is why hospitals are staunch supporters of solving the medical debt puzzle through collaborative efforts by engaging the business and insurance community in conversations and thoughtful approaches to address the root causes of medical debt and implement plans to make improvements.   

The trend of lower up-front premium costs with high deductibles and narrow networks can result in significant out-of-pocket expenses before insurance covers anything. This financial burden causes some to avoid care, potentially leading to higher costs due to delayed treatment. 

Hospitals offer an array of lifesaving and community-based services that are available for all North Carolinians.  We are there 24/7/365 and are prepared to respond to individual and community needs. To fulfill their mission of providing quality care to the community, hospitals need to secure fair reimbursement and financial support. Hospitals have always billed insurance companies, governmental payers, and those patients who have the means to pay. When they seek to collect payments on debts owed, hospitals follow applicable law and their own financial assistance policies as they work with patients and families to ensure all are treated with dignity and respect throughout the patient financial process. 

It is important to note that hospitals also provide billions of dollars in uncompensated care annually. In 2023, North Carolina provided $1.2 billion in charity care and forgave $838 million in bad debt. 

About NCHA 

Founded in 1918, North Carolina Healthcare Association (NCHA) is the united voice of the North Carolina healthcare community. Representing more than 130 hospitals, health systems, physician groups and other healthcare organizations, NCHA works with our members to improve the health of North Carolina communities by advocating for sound public policies and collaborative partnerships and by providing insights, services, support, and education to expand access to high quality, efficient, affordable, and integrated health care for all North Carolinians.  

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