Features / Politics

High Hospital Bill? Know Your Rights

By Edita Diunov

Staff Writer

When I was admitted in August to the Emergency Room due to suspicion of a ruptured appendix, I was quite afraid of the hospital bill that I would get. Being an international student with no insurance at the time meant that I was liable for paying my bill with no help.

I remember reaching out to many charity organizations that disqualified me for not answering the specific criteria to be eligible for their help. Just like me, there are hundreds of students who are admitted to the Emergency Room and do not know their rights when it comes to paying off their hospital bills.

William Paterson University has required students to have an insurance plan source since 2014, due to the discontinuation of WPU student insurance plans. If you do not have an insurance plan, you might face a penalty under the law (the law is applicable to U.S. citizens and U.S. residents only). If for any reason you are in a situation in which the insurance cannot provide help for your medical emergency, you must know that the New Jersey State Department has a plan to assist you.

According to the Public Law of 1997, you are eligible for the Hospital Care Payment Assistance program if you: “ 1. Have no health coverage or have coverage that pays only for part of the bill; and 2. Are ineligible for any private or governmental sponsored coverage (such as Medicaid); and 3. Meet both the income and assets eligibility criteria listed below.”

This hospital assistance program is available for non-N.J. residents and is “subject to certain provisions.” Applications are done through the hospital administrations, which determine one’s eligibility.

For further information about Hospital Care Payment Assistance program, visit the New Jersey Department of Health website: http://www.nj.gov/health/charitycare/documents/charitycare_factsheet_en.pdf

 

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