Swedish Updates Charity Care Program to Ensure More Families Qualify for Free or Discounted Care

May 31, 2016
  • Swedish, a nonprofit, continues to provide the largest amount of charity care of any non-government funded healthcare system in Seattle
  • In 2015, Swedish provided more than $17 million in free or discounted care and more than $175 million in overall community benefit programs

As part of its mission to improve the health and well-being of each person it serves, each year Swedish Health Services, a nonprofit, provides millions of dollars in free or discounted medical services for those who cannot afford care, are underinsured or have no insurance at all. Swedish provides this free or discounted care in cases where annual family income is between zero and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, ensuring that financial constraints are not a barrier to receiving medically necessary care.

Earlier this year, Swedish updated its charity care program to ensure even more families in the community are eligible for free or discounted medical care. Swedish now provides 100 percent free care to individuals and families between 0-300 percent of the federal poverty level (formerly 0-200 percent). For example, a family of three with a household income of approximately $60,000 or less will now qualify for 100 percent free care.

In addition, for individuals and families between 301-400 percent of the federal poverty level, Swedish provides a discount of at least 75 percent. For example, a family of three with a household income between approximately $60,000 - $80,000 qualifies for a discount of at least 75 percent.

A detailed chart is available to patients online so that they may determine their level of charity care based on their income and family size. Swedish is also actively applying the new policies to patients who received care when the previous policies were still in effect.

“In 2015, I’m proud to share that Swedish provided more than $17 million in free or discounted care to patients in our community and more than $175 million in overall community benefit programs,” said Tony Armada, Chief Executive Officer for Swedish Health Services. “We believe that everyone in our community has a right to health care. This has always been a part of the Swedish DNA and is why we continue to provide more financial assistance than any other non-government funded healthcare system in the Seattle area.”

As part of the recent changes, Swedish also simplified and clarified its financial application form and the form’s instructions to make it easier for patients to apply for charity care. The application form is now one and a half pages, with a one-page instruction sheet, and is available in 11 languages besides English. Finally, Swedish is also focused on providing greater clarity on which third-party providers participate in Swedish’s charity care policy and which do not, so patients can communicate with those providers about any financial assistance they may provide.

“I’m so proud of the commitment that our organization has made year after year to provide extraordinary care to all in our community,” continued Armada. “These changes will make a difference for many patients and families, hopefully relieving the financial stress and concern that can be associated with hospital or other medical care.”

More information on Swedish’s Community Benefits and Charity Care programs can be found here.