Free and Sliding-Scale Programs
Like clinics and doctor's offices, all Maine hospitals offer financial assistance to qualifying patients. Under Maine law, no one can be denied access to emergency services because of their insurance status or their ability to pay, and emergency visits are free if you meet certain income levels. You should be aware that your definition of 'emergency' may differ from that of the hospital, and it is always good to call the billing office ahead of time and ask about the "free care" and "sliding-scale" programs if possible. Also, in non-emergency situations you should try to seek care from clinics and doctor's offices before taking a trip to the ER. Hospitals are often over-utilized for their all-hours, walk-in convenience, but they come with a heavy financial toll to individuals and society.
2014 Monthly Income Guidelines for
Hospital Free Care
Individuals with incomes at or less than $1,459 a month are eligible.
($1,967 a month for a family of two; add $508 a month for each additional family member)
|By law, medically necessary FREE CARE is available at ALL Maine Hospitals for people with income under this level.
Individuals with incomes at or less than $1,702 a month qualify at these hospitals.
($2,294 a month for a family of two; add $593 a month for each additional family member)
|Maine Medical Center
Mayo Regional Hospital
Southern Maine Health Care
Stephens Memorial Hospital
Waldo County General Hospital
Individuals with incomes at or less than $1,848 a month qualify at this hospital.
($2,529 a month for a family of two; add $644 a month for each additional family member)
|Cary Medical Center
Individuals with incomes at or less than $1,946 a month qualify at these hospitals.
($2,622 a month for a family of two; add $678 a month for each additional family member)
Aroostook Medical Center
Blue Hill Memorial Hospital
Charles A. Dean Memorial Hospital
Down East Community Hospital
Eastern Maine Medical Center
St. Joseph Hospital
*Hospitals may also look at your assets when your income is over $1,459 per month for an individual (or $1,967 per month for a family of two; add $508 per month for each additional family member)
Many Maine hospitals provide free care and sliding scale care to people ABOVE these income levels. If you make more then the amounts above call your hospital's billing office and ask them about their specific income guidelines. You can also check out these resources developed by Consumers for Affordable Healthcare:
Don't Get Discouraged!
Sometimes applications are denied for free and sliding-scale care at Maine hospitals. If you believe your application should have been accepted, you are able to appeal the hospital's decision. To appeal, contact the Department of Health and Human Services within 60 days of your denial letter and let them know you would like an administrative fair hearing. You can make your request over the phone by calling (207) 287-8792, or by letter to the Administrative Hearings Unit, DHHS, 11 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0011.
For other questions about receiving free or sliding-scale care, call the Consumers for Affordable Care Helpline at 1-800-965-7476. They will do their best to make sure you receive proper, affordable care, and may even be able to help get your old medical bills paid.