Information For Patients
Washington's hospitals are committed to ensuring patients get the hospital care they need regardless of their ability to pay for that care. Providing health care to those that cannot afford to pay is part of the mission of Washington's hospitals, and state law requires hospitals to provide free and discounted inpatient and outpatient care.
If you need help paying a hospital bill, there are things you can do:
Contact the hospital billing office and ask for information about financial assistance and charity care. You may qualify for financial support that will reduce your bill. Every hospital in Washington State is required to offer charity care; contact them directly for their policies and application.
- If you don’t have health insurance at all, contact www.wahealthplanfinder.org. There are a broad variety of plans available, and if you qualify for the state’s Apple Health program, you may be able to get coverage for bills already incurred—even though you didn’t have insurance at the time you were in the hospital.
- Learn more about how to understand your hospital bill by downloading this brochure or this Word template.
- You can also contact the Washington State Department of Health, which regulates hospitals. See their webpage here or call 360-236-4210.
Information For Hospitals
In May 2014, changes were made to state and federal charity care laws. Click here to read the WSHA bulletin on the changes.
Charity Care Resources
WSHA has developed a model charity care policy, notice, and application for hospitals to use. These materials have been approved by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). Hospitals may revise WSHA's model forms as desired. Hospitals must submit any change to their own policy (including adopting WSHA's model policy) to the Department of Health for approval.
- Download a model charity care policy (Word)
- Download a model charity care notice (Word)
- Download a model charity care application (Word)
- Download model language to include on your hospital's bills (Word)
Materials for Complying with Billing Notification Law (RCW 70.41.400)
State law requires hospitals to give each inpatient on or before discharge a written statement providing a list of professional partners that commonly provide care for patients at the hospital and from whom the patient may receive a bill. WSHA has produced the following materials for hospitals to use to help in informing patients.
- Understanding Your Hospital Bill Sample Insert (PDF/Word template)
- Click here for a template of a 3.375” by 8.5” single-panel card insert (MSWord)
- Click here for a full page sheet insert (MSWord)
- Order “Understanding Your Hospital Bill” brochure
Materials for Complying with Notice Requirements (WAC 246-453)
State law requires hospitals make information on charity care be posted or prominently displayed within public areas of the hospital. WSHA has produced a model sign about financial assistance, including information in English and eight other commonly spoken languages.
DOH can be contacted at 360-236-4210. Relevant information can also be found here: