Hospitals pledge financial aid to Boston bomb victims

While doctors say the more than 180 people injured in the Boston Marathon blasts who arrived at a hospital alive are likely to survive, they face a long road of expensive medical and rehabilitative care.

Unlike soldiers and Marines injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, the blast victims won't receive guaranteed coverage for all of their medical care, noted the Los Angeles Times.

However, three Boston hospitals want to help ease the financial pain by withholding medical bills for Boston Marathon bombing patients, The Boston Globe reported.

Massachusetts General Hospital, for instance, will still bill insurers but intends to use donations to the hospital or assistance funds to cover the patient financial responsibility for the 39 patients it treated, the Globe noted. Brigham and Women's Hospital and Tufts Medical Center said they will make similar allowances for the roughly 50 patients treated at the facilities.

Boston hospitals could be left picking up a hefty tab. According to one estimate, the 34 patients who have remained hospitalized since the bombings could rack up almost $40,000 each in medical bills, ABC News reported. And for at least 14 patients who had limbs amputated, a prosthetic leg could cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000.

To lessen the burden of sky-high medical bills, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino created One Fund Boston with plans to distribute money to victims and their families by the end of June, according to the Globe. The fund, which already has collected $23 million, will pay victims on a sliding scale based on how much time they spent in the hospital, but won't take into account health insurance.

Moreover, viral online fundraising campaigns started by friends and family will offer patients some financial help, according to Fox News. Within days some fundraising pages raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.

Health insurers in Massachusetts, including Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan and Tufts Health Plan, are doing their part by dropping out-of-pocket fees for those patients. Aetna and Cigna are offering free phone consultations to anyone--regardless of whether they're covered by either insurer--coping with the tragedy.

For more:
- read the LA Times article
- read the Globe article
- here's the ABC News article
- check out the Fox News article

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