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Vermont Passes Update to Patient Financial Assistance Policies

Effective July 1, 2022, Vermont has updated its requirements for health care facilities and medical debt collectors related to patient financial assistance policies.

5/31/2022 2:30 P.M.

2 minute read

Vermont has updated its law outlining the obligations of health care facilities and medical debt collectors to ensure consumers understand patient financial assistance policies.

The update to the Vermont statute, H.B. 287, includes duties and prohibitions for medical debt collectors. It takes effect on July 1.

First, the provision includes the following key definitions:

  • Medical debt means a debt arising from the receipt of health care services.
  • Medical debt collector means an individual or entity that regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, medical debts originally owed or due, or asserted to be owed or due, to another individual or entity.
  • A medical creditor means a large health care facility to whom a consumer owes money for health care services.

The provision states that medical debt collectors must meet the following requirements when implementing financial assistance policies:

  • A large health care facility or medical debt collector shall, at a minimum, offer to any patient who qualifies for financial assistance a payment plan and shall not require the patient to make monthly payments that exceed 5% of the patient’s gross monthly household income.
  • A large health care facility or medical debt collector shall not impose any prepayment or early payment penalty or fee on any patient and shall not charge interest on any medical debt owed by a patient who qualifies for the facility’s financial assistance program.

Public Education and Information

According to the statute update, all written or oral attempts by a medical creditor (a large health care facility) or medical debt collector to collect a medical debt arising from health care services delivered by a large health care facility shall include information for the patient about the relevant financial assistance policy or policies.

It also requires that no large health care facility shall sell its medical debt and any waiver by a patient or other individual of any protection provided by or any right of the patient or other individual under this subchapter is void and shall not be enforced by any court or any other person.

Read the complete statute update here. It takes effect on July 1, 2022, and large hospital facilities are required to comply by July 1, 2024.

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