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College Tuition's Mental Health Cost Included A Surprise Medical ...

Hofstra University
Long Island Jewish Medical Center
Northwell Health
Zucker Hillside Hospital
The Internal Revenue Service
the "An Arm and a Leg"

Jordan Rau
Divya Singh
Jackie Molloy
treated."Dan Weissmann


New Hyde Park

Zucker Hillside Hospital

Glen Oaks
New York City
Long Island

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The New York Times
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She emerged facing the same tuition debt as before.And then another bill came.The Patient: Divya Singh, a 20-year-old student at Hofstra University.Medical Service: Seven-day inpatient psychiatric stay at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y.Service Provider: Northwell Health, a large nonprofit hospital system in New York City and Long Island.Total Bill: Northwell charged $50,282, which Singh's insurer, Aetna, reduced to $17,066 under its contract with Northwell. Singh's Northwell bill of around $3,413 reflects the plan's requirement that she pay for 20% of the costs of her hospital stay.Although such coinsurance requirements are common in American health plans, they can be financially overwhelming for students with no income and families whose finances are already under the extreme stress of high tuition. It offers discounts on a sliding scale for individuals earning up to $64,400 a year, although people with savings or other "available assets" above $10,000 might get less or not qualify.The IRS requires hospitals to "widely publicize" the availability of financial assistance, inform all patients about how they can obtain it and include "a conspicuous written notice" on billing statements.While the bill Northwell sent Singh includes a reference to "financial difficulties" and a phone number to call, it did not explicitly state that the hospital might reduce or waive the bill. it is not required that providers list the options on the bill." Northwell stated: "If a patient calls the number provided and expresses financial hardship, the patient is assisted with a financial need application." However, Northwell lamented, "unfortunately, many patients do not call."Indeed, a KHN investigation in 2019 found that, nationwide, 45% of nonprofit hospital organizations were routinely sending medical bills to patients whose incomes were low enough to qualify for charity care.

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