Health reform

In 2009, KHCC produced this fact sheet to help consumers to understand the discussions about health reform taking place across the country.

Consumer’s guide to medical debt

In 2009, KHCC produced this guide to inform Kansans about the issue of Medical debt and its devastating impact on Kansans. The guide was designed to help consumers to speak with their legislators.

Medical debt is a growing problem for many Kansans. In 2008 there were over 4100 health care-related bankruptcies across the state. Unpaid medical bills can show up on consumer credit reports. Worse still, consumers with unpaid medical bills often put off needed care because they are unable to pay.

Medical debt and charity care

In 2009, KHCC produced this fact sheet to help Kansans to understand the issue of medical debt and charity care.

WHAT IS MEDICAL DEBT?

Medical debt is money owed for medical services or product. The debt can be owed to a health care provider, such as a hospital or a doctor. It can also be owed to a collection agency or credit card company.

Medical debt is different from other kinds of debt because the circumstances that lead to medical debt are usually beyond a person’s control. No one chooses to have a serious illness or injury that causes financial strain.

WHAT IS CHARITY CARE?

Charity care is health care that is provided for free or at reduced prices for some patients. It is also known as uncompensated care. Charity care is an important service that can help people pay for necessary medical care that they might otherwise forego. Charity care is typically provided by nonprofit hospitals. In exchange for receiving tax exemptions, nonprofit hospitals are required to provide a community benefit. The community benefit is often measured by the amount of charity care that is provided by a nonprofit hospital.

COBRA premium assistance

In 2009, KHCC produced this fact sheet to help Kansans to understand COBRA and the changes made to COBRA under ARRA.

WHAT IS COBRA?

COBRA is the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985. Under COBRA, when you lose your job, you and members of your family have the right to continue receiving the same health insurance coverage you had while employed, for up to 18 months. You can pay the full cost of your health insurance premium (the cost you paid while employed plus the cost covered by your employer) and receive coverage even though you are no longer employed.

The premium you pay under COBRA is higher than what you paid while employed, but generally, it is not as expensive as buying insurance through the individual market.

WHAT’S NEW WITH COBRA?

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), often referred to as the stimulus plan, provides eligible individuals with short term government assistance to help cover the costs of COBRA insurance premiums. Under ARRA, if you involuntarily lose your job and thus lose your health benefits, you will be able to pay only 35 percent of your COBRA premium. The government will pay the remaining 65 percent of your premium. All you have to worry about is your own share of the premium. The remaining 65 percent will be handled between your insurer or employer and the government.

You can receive government assistance with your COBRA premium for up to 9 months, beginning on or after February 17, 2009.