MD officials seek to limit interest on hospital debts

Maryland state regulators are looking to bar state hospitals from adding interest on unpaid bills at double the rate allowed for other types of debts, as well as to prohibit them and their collections agencies from charging prejudgment interest.

Legislators are considering a bill that would require hospitals to charge interest rates complying with regulations set by the state's regulator of hospital rates, the Health Services Cost Review Commission. This provision is part of a larger bill setting minimum standards for providing free care to patients and barring them from filing liens on patients' primary residences.

Right now, the state's hospitals often seek to add 12 percent interest on judgments dating back to 60 days after a patient was discharged from their facility. While this is permitted by the Health Services Cost Review Commission, such rates have been attacked as unnecessarily aggressive, particularly given that the state constitution limits interest rates to 6 percent for most other debts.

To find out more about this issue:
- read this Baltimore Sun piece

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