Dollar For's Research Reveals $14 Billion Gap in Hospital Financial Assistance Programs

Bridging the Chasm

Dollar For, a national nonprofit organization that assists patients in accessing hospital charity care, has released groundbreaking findings from its 2023 research studies to assess the effectiveness of hospital financial assistance programs. The results show a $14 Billion shortfall in the amount of charity care hospitals provide, as well as burdensome requirements on patients and notable racial disparities.

All nonprofit hospitals in the United States are required to provide free or discounted care to individuals who meet certain income requirements. Many for-profit hospitals offer these financial assistance programs as well. Dollar For helps patients submit hospital financial assistance applications and holds hospitals accountable to federal financial assistance laws. To date, they’ve eliminated over $47M in medical debt. 

In their initial study, Dollar For's research team examined both hospital self-reported tax filings and a first-of-its-kind study in Maryland that matched patient billing records to their income filings. Shockingly, the study uncovered that hospitals are failing to provide at least $14 billion annually in debt relief for their charity care-eligible patients. 

In their follow-up study, Dollar For delved deeper into the challenges patients face in accessing financial assistance. Surveying over 1,600 patients, the study aimed to uncover why so many individuals were falling through the cracks. The results revealed a stark reality: only 29% of patients with hospital bills they cannot afford are able to learn about, apply for, and receive charity care. The majority of patients (52%) reported receiving no information whatsoever from their hospital regarding financial assistance. The analysis also unveiled a troubling disparity: Black patients have a 62% lower probability of being approved for charity care than all other races.

"Hospitals desperately need to rethink their charity care programs to make sure they’re reaching the patients who need them," said Jared Walker, founder at Dollar For. "A medical crisis shouldn’t turn into a financial crisis. But unfortunately for most people, it does. Hospitals and the government have the power to change that.” 

Dollar For remains committed to advocating for policy changes and working collaboratively with hospitals and policymakers to make charity care known, easy, and fair for all patients. 

Source: Dollar For

About Dollar For

Dollar For is a national nonprofit that eliminates medical bills by helping patients access charity care. We empower patients and advocate on their behalf.

Dollar For
104 W 9th Street , #Suite 205
Vancouver, Washington