March 30, 2022
The PJC and other health advocates are advocating for HB 694, which would require the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC), in coordination with the Department of Human Services, the State designated exchange, the Office of the Comptroller, and the Maryland Hospital Association, to develop a process for identifying patients who paid for hospital services but may have qualified for free care and reimburse them. HB 694 covers patients who were wrongly charged between 2017-2021.
In 2021, HSCRC released a study reporting that Maryland’s hospitals collected roughly $60 million in 2017 and then again in 2018 from patients who were eligible for free care and should not have been charged. For low-income patients, medical debt collection threatens financial security by taking money that enters the household away from paying for basic family needs, including food, medication, childcare and housing. As a result, low-income patients who cannot afford costs associated with hospital care may be deterred from seeking necessary or time-sensitive care.
HB 694 passed the House and is being heard in the Senate Finance Committee TODAY. Urge your Senators to pass the bill to make low-income patients, who should have received free care, whole. Find your legislators here: mdelect.net.