|Financial Assistance Policy|
|Rhode Island law establishes a statewide community standard for the provision of free and discounted care.
Rhode Island hospitals must make full or partial charity care available to uninsured low-income state residents who are ineligible for government or employer-sponsored health coverage. 23-17.14 R.I. Code R. §11.3(b). Hospitals may expand their financial assistance policies beyond what the state requires but may not reduce the amount of assistance or make their financial assistance eligibility standards more restrictive than the state prescribes.
Hospitals must provide free care for patients with annual income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) and must provide discounted care for patients with annual income between 200 and 300 percent of the FPL. Each hospital’s discounted care policy must be based on a sliding fee scale that the hospital determines based on its evaluation of the needs of its service area and the hospital’s financial resources. 23-17.14 R.I. Code R. §11.3(f).
In determining a patient’s eligibility for free or discounted care, a hospital has discretion to consider, in addition to income, a patient’s assets pursuant to a criterion establishing an assets protection threshold. If assets are considered in determining whether a patient qualifies for free care, additional restrictions on permissible hospital billing and collections against the patient apply. 23-17.14 R.I. Code R. §11.3(d)-(f).