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    Financial Assistance for Those in Need

    Sutter Health has a long history of giving back to the community. Our generous financial assistance policies reflect our commitment to patients who seek care at our hospitals or medical foundations.

    In January 2016, Sutter Health enhanced its hospital policy to provide income-based charity care, and other forms of financial assistance including discounts to qualified patients.

    Our not-for-profit Northern California hospitals offer financial assistance to help low-income patients, insured patients with high medical costs, and uninsured patients. This information applies only to your hospital bill and does not include any bills received from physicians, anesthesiologists, clinical professionals, ambulance companies, etc. that may bill you separately for their services. Our policies provide:

    • Full charity care to uninsured patients earning 400% or less of the Federal Poverty Income Guideline (FPIG).

    • Hospital discounts to uninsured patients who earn more than 401% of FPIG.
      • Standard Uninsured Discount: 40% reduction of billed charges for inpatient services and 20% reduction of billed charges for outpatient services.

      • Rural Uninsured Discount: 20% reduction of billed charges for inpatient and outpatient services at rural hospitals. Sutter Lakeside Hospital, Sutter Coast Hospital, and Sutter Amador Hospital are rural hospitals.
    • A write-off of an insured patient’s financial responsibility for hospital services if the patient earns 400% or less of the FPIG and their medical expenses exceed 10% of family income over the past 12 months.

    • Payment plans with no interest charges to all patients.

    • A prompt payment discount of 10% of the amount owed by an uninsured patient after all other discounts have been applied, if payment is made at time of service or within 30 calendar days of the date of first billing to the patient.

    Please visit the Sutter Health Financial Assistance web page to access the Hospital Financial Assistance Policy in more than 25 different languages.

    How it works

    Financial Assistance Program (Charity Care)

    Uninsured patients and some insured patients who have an inability to pay their bill may be eligible for financial assistance. Eligibility for financial assistance is based on income and family size (and medical bills for insured patients). All potential payer sources must be exhausted before a patient is eligible for financial assistance.

    Uninsured Patient Discounts

    Sutter Health Hospitals offer a 40% discount off of hospital inpatient charges and a 20% discount off of outpatient charges at time of billing. The Rural Uninsured Discount rate of 20% reduction of billed charges for inpatient and outpatient charges applies to Sutter Lakeside Hospital, Sutter Coast Hospital and Sutter Amador Hospital. An itemized bill reflecting your discount will be mailed to the address obtained at time of registration five to seven days after the service/ discharge date. Please review your bill and contact us if you have any questions.

    Prompt-pay Discount

    Sutter Health Hospitals offer a prompt-pay discount option to our uninsured patients. If you pay your account in full within 30 days of your bill date you will receive an additional 10% discount off of the balance due.

    Payment Plans

    Patient account balances are due upon receipt. Patients may elect to make payment arrangements for their hospital bill. A Financial Agreement must be signed before the Patient Financial Services Office can accept payment arrangements that allow patients to pay their hospital bills over time. These arrangements are interest-free for low income uninsured patients and certain income-eligible patients with high medical costs.

    Medi-Cal & Government Program Eligibility

    You may be eligible for a government-sponsored health benefit program. Sutter Health Hospitals have staff available to assist you with applying for government assistance like Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, and other programs to pay your hospital bill.

    Healthy Families

    You may obtain information about Healthy Families (California’s low-cost, comprehensive medical, dental and vision care insurance program) by contacting the Patient Advocates Office.

    Notice of Availability of Financial Estimates

    You may request a written estimate of your financial responsibility for hospital services. Requests for estimates must be made during business hours. The estimate will provide you with an estimate of the amount the hospital will require the patient to pay for health care services, procedures, and supplies that are reasonably expected to be provided by the hospital.

    Estimates are based on the average length of stay and services provided for the patient’s diagnosis. They are not promises to provide services at fixed costs. A patient’s financial responsibility may be more or less than the estimate based on the services the patient actually receives.

    The hospital can provide estimates of the amount of hospital services only. There may be additional charges for services that will be provided by physicians during a patient’s stay in the hospital, such as bills from personal physicians, and any anesthesiologists, pathologists, radiologists, ambulance companies or other medical professionals who are not employees of the hospital. Patients will receive a separate bill for these services.

    Billing and Collection Policy

    Sutter Health’s Hospital standardized collection practices policy prohibits wage garnishments and bench warrants, prohibits property foreclosures and limits the cases in which liens can be filed. Please visit the Sutter Health Financial Assistance web page to access the Billing and Collection Policy in over 25 languages, or please call us at 855-398-1633.

    Notification Process

    Once the eligibility process is complete you will receive a Financial Assistance Notification form in the mail. The form will indicate if you are eligible for Financial Assistance, or that more information is needed to make a determination.

    How to Apply for Hospital Financial Assistance

    Please ask for information about these policies at the Registration/Patient Access Department at the hospital. For more information or to apply for financial assistance:

    How to Apply for Medical Foundation Financial Assistance

    Sutter-affiliated medical foundations have financial assistance policies separate from the hospital policies. These policies allow for income-based charity care and uninsured patient discounts. To learn more about these programs or to apply for financial assistance, please contact any Sutter-affiliated medical foundation.