Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that the Charity Care Act will be expanding their eligibility guidelines, providing free or discounted healthcare to Washingtonian patients. The law will be made into effect on July 1.

The Charity Care Act, or HB 1616, would provide financial assistance to those at-risk of paying out-of-pocket hospital costs, or who are within 300% of the poverty level. 

For example, those who make up to $18,310 for a two-person household will have no out-of-pocket costs, and those who make a max income of $36,620 for a two-person household will be eligible for sliding scale discounts.

Financial assistance will be split into two tiers, one for large health care networks and the second going towards small independent hospitals.

Hospitals within the North Central Washington region will primarily be eligible for the second tier.

According to the charity care act, hospitals are still required to do the following:

  • Provide notice of the charity care option both verbally and in writing
  • Screen patients for charity care eligibility before attempting to collect payment
  • Only require patients to provide one income-related document to prove charity care eligibility.