IL bill capping hospital fees to uninsured passes

The Illinois legislature has overturned a veto by the state's governor to pass a bill requiring hospitals to provide deep discounts to uninsured patients. The vote returns the bill to its original languages, after Gov. Rod Blagojevich's amendatory veto changed the rules substantially.

As re-passed by the state legislature, the bill provides discounts on bills and caps on annual hospital spending to about 775,000 families in the state. It requires the state's hospitals to charge most patients without insurance actual costs plus a 35 percent markup, rather than two to three times the actual cost, as is common now. To qualify for such discounts, consumers have to meet financial standards. In urban areas, families who earn up to $127,200, or six times the federal poverty level, will be eligible for discounts. In rural areas, the limit is $63,600, or three times the poverty level.

Among other things, Gov. Blagojevich had wanted to cut the 35 percent to 20 percent, and required that patients earning less than 200 percent of the poverty level, or $42,400 for a family of four, wouldn't pay any markup at all. But the legislature unanimously overturned his proposed changes.

To learn more about the bill:
- read this Chicago Tribune piece

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