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Can Hospitals Pay Patients’ Health Insurance Premiums?

It’s a good question with no clear answer yet.  The question was raised [but not answered] at a recent webinar for hospitals assisting patients with enrollment in the new health insurance exchanges. A Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services representative indicated that CMS has not yet released any guidance on the issue of third party premium support for patient health insurance.

Paying uninsured patient insurance premiums could help hospitals avoid more expensive uncompensated care costs, but there may be anti-trust, conflict of interest, and other issues to consider.

Source: Clark C. Can hospitals pay patients’ health insurance premiums? HealthLeaders Media, Sept. 30. 2013. http://www.healthleadersmedia.com/page-1/HEP-296819/Can-Hospitals-Pay-Patients-Health-Insurance-Premiums##

Oct. 10, 2013 Update: American Hospital Association has issued today a member-only legal advisory citing federal anti-kickback and tax-exemption laws as potential barriers to hospital subsidies for health insurance. It indicates that AHA will seek guidance from both the Internal Revenue Service and the HHS Office of the Inspector General.

Nov. 19, 2013 Update: Update: Can Hospitals Pay Patient Health Insurance Premiums?

Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

2 Responses

  1. I feel like paying the premiums would get very complicated and messy very quickly. How much would a hospital be willing to pay per patient? How would they determine who gets what kind of help?

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