Health care can be expensive and unaffordable for many Americans. By developing a financial assistance screening tool and raising hospital donations through local charities, Experian makes sure those in need have financial support to put their health first.
For many Americans, health care costs can be brutal. Insurance may not cover enough for some people, resulting in expensive out-of-pocket costs. Others may not even have insurance, forcing them to shoulder massive bills they can’t afford to pay.
A few years ago, Experian created a financial assistance screening tool that helps patients quickly find out if they are eligible for financial support by asking a few questions about income and household size. We are proud that we get to say to many low-income patients, “Don’t worry about your bill, it’s going to be covered – just focus on getting better.”
But while it’s wonderful to witness the relief on people’s faces when they find out their medical expenses are covered, we also noticed that many individuals with a moderate income were unable to pay for unexpected medical expenses, even with this screening tool.
The financial burden of a sudden health issue could tip their family budget over the edge, leading them to default on credit cards, struggle to pay rent or their mortgage, or even get pushed into bankruptcy. They’re not poor enough to get financial support, but they’re not rich enough to pay for all out-of-pocket expenses, so they fall through the cracks.
Unsatisfied with this reality, my team and I created a way to help middle-income families in need, using both the Experian Health Care financial assistance screening tool and the support of generous donors.
We ask third-party donors, such as charities and companies – and our fellow Experian employees – to help us assist patients who are struggling to pay their bills. Their donations help create a fund for hospitals that can cover for these types of emergencies.
When hospitals run Experian’s screening tool and identify a patient struggling to pay their medical bills, we can tell the patient they’re covered. Rather than worrying over bills, they can focus on what truly matters – their health.
It’s really exciting to take an Experian product that already works for those in need, and use it to help even more patients. Right now, there are more than 700 hospitals using our screening tool. It blows my mind to think about how many more millions of patients this donation fund will help each year.