Hospital Patient Information and Charity Care

Hospitals in Washington cannot deny patients access to care based on an inability to pay. RCW 70.170 and WAC 246-453 require hospitals to develop charity care policies and procedures to ensure that all patients with family incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines are able to obtain medically necessary hospital health care free of charge, and patients with family incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty guidelines are able to obtain that care at a discount. 

To calculate your Federal Poverty Level (FPL) use this FPL calculator

Federal Poverty Levels and Required Charity Care Discounts

  Required discounts for care provided on or prior to June 30, 2022 Required discounts for care provided on or after July 1, 2022
2024 Federal Poverty Level 1 Person Household Income 2 Person Household Income 3 Person Household Income 4 Person Household Income All Hospitals Tier 1 Hospitals Tier 2 Hospitals
0 to 100% Up to $15,060 Up to $20,440 Up to $25,820 Up to $31,200 No out-of-pocket costs No out-of-pocket costs No out-of-pocket costs
101% to 200% $15,061 to $30,120 $20,441 to $40,880 $25,821 to $51,640 $31,201 to $62,400 Sliding scale discounts No out-of-pocket costs No out-of-pocket costs
201% to 250% $30121 to $37,650 $40,881 to $50,100 $51,641 to $64,550 $62,401 to $78,000 No mandatory discount No out-of-pocket costs 75% discount
251% to 300% $37,651 to $45,180 $50,501 to $61,320 $64,551 to $77,460 $78,001 to $93,600 No mandatory discount No out-of-pocket costs 50% discount
301% to 350% $45,181 to $52,710 $61,321 to $71,540 $77,461 to $90,370 $93,601 to $109,200 No mandatory discount 75% discount No mandatory discount
351% to 400% $52,711 to $62,240 $71,541 to $81, 760 $90,371 to $103,280 $109,201 to $124,800 No mandatory discount 50% discount No mandatory discount

Family size: When counting family size include anyone who lives in the same household that is related by birth, marriage, or adoption. 

Income: When calculating income use the most recent documents at the time of service or at the time of application. Income from all of those in your household should be counted.

A listing of Tier 1 and 2 hospitals is available (PDF).

What is charity care?

Charity care is financial aid to help people pay hospital bills. It can make your care free or reduced cost. Charity care can cover all necessary medical care. It may not cover some hospital-based providers. 

For more information on charity care, please see these Charity Care Fact Sheets:

How to apply for charity care
  1. See where you and your family stand on the Federal Poverty Level Guidelines.
  2. Contact the hospital billing department where you received health care services to request a Charity Care or Financial Assistance application.  
  3. Complete the application. 
  4. Gather all income documentation (see document list below).
  5. Submit the application and income documentation to the hospital where you received health care services. 
  6. Review your Charity Care award letter received by the hospital. 
  7. If denied, you have 30 days to file an appeal by providing a letter of appeal and/or additional income documentation. 
What documents may I need to submit with my application?
  • W-2 Withholding Statement
  • Pay Stubs
  • An income tax return from the most recent filed calendar year
  • Forms approving or denying eligibility for Medicaid and/or state-funded medical assistance
  • Forms approving or denying unemployment compensation
  • Written statements from employers or welfare agencies
How to get information about charity care

Each hospital's approved charity care policy is available at the link below:

How to file a charity care complaint

If you think a hospital is not following its approved charity care policy, has unfairly denied you charity care coverage, or refuses to give you a charity care application, you may file a complaint with the department.

Annual Charity Care Reports

The department publishes an annual report on hospital charity care.
 


Email CharityCare@doh.wa.gov or call 360-236-4210 with charity care questions.