Vote Tracker

House and Senate Bills Introduced to Alleviate Medical Debt

Democratic Senator Spiros Mantzavinos and Democratic Representative Kim Williams have introduced two bills (one in the Senate and one in the House) that are intended to protect patients from unfair debt collection practices for medical debt and to inform them of programs that help allieviate the burden of the debt.

Senate Bill 8 implements a number of safeguards for patients, including: 

  • Prohibiting the charging of interest and late fees
  • Requiring facilities to offer reasonable payment plans
  • Limiting the sale of debt to debt collectors
  • Providing a “grace period” before certain collection actions may be taken
  • Limiting liability for the medical debt of others
  • Preventing the reporting of medical debt to consumer credit reporting agencies for at least one year after the debt was incurred

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted last year, nearly 1 in 5 adults across the country are currently on some kind of financing plan to pay off a medical or dental bill. 

Senate Bill 8 has been assigned to the Senate Banking, Business, Insurance & Technology Committee.

“We have all heard horror stories about coworkers, neighbors, or family members who have incurred tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in unforeseen medical expenses. Even for those who have medical insurance, it just takes one accident or emergency procedure for insurmountable medical bills to pile up,” said Sen. Mantzavinos, acknowledging that many insured Americans have a health insurance plan with a high deductible, because they don’t expect to incur many medical expenses. “This bill is designed to show patients some grace and compassion when navigating the payment of their medical expenses.”

Senate Bill 8 Protecting Patients from Unfair Medical Debt Collection PracticesCurrrent Status – Senate Banking, Business, Insurance & Technology 3/16/23
House Sponsors – Williams, Heffernan, Johnson, LambertSenate Sponsors – Mantzavinos, Hansen, McBride, Townsend
House Yes VotesSenate Yes Votes
House No VotesSenate No Votes
House Absents or Not VotingSenate Absent or Not Voting

Medical debt affects patients both with and without insurance. For the uninsured, Rep. Williams has introduced a bill requiring patients to be informed of different medical assistance programs for which they may be eligible.

House Bill 90 requires large health care facilities to provide information to uninsured patients regarding eligibility and the application process for medical assistance. Information must be provided at the time of service or prior to discharge, and again with each billing statement. When patients receive emergency care, information must be provided within 5 days of discharge.

“Medical expenses are skyrocketing for everyone, but these costs are especially devastating for those underinsured and for those with no insurance. In the past several years, we’ve heard stories of people rationing medicine and putting off necessary follow up care. People cannot afford care or they do not know they qualify for assistance,” said Rep. Williams, lead sponsor of House Bill 90. “This bill will help to prevent those from falling through the cracks by providing uninsured patients information regarding their eligibility. Together, this package of legislation will help us take a first step in easing the burden of medical debt for low-income Delawareans.”

House Bill 90 has been assigned to the House Economic Everything Committee.

House Bill 90 Providing Information to Uninsured Patients Regarding Eligibility For Medical Debt Assistance ProgramsCurrrent Status – House Economic Everything 3/16/23
House SponsorsWilliams, Dorsey Walker, Baumbach, Heffernan, Lambert, Morrison, OsienskiSenate SponsorsMantzavinos, Gay, Hansen, Hoffner, Pinkney
House Yes VotesSenate Yes Votes
House No VotesSenate No Votes
House Absents or Not VotingSenate Absent or Not Voting

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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