Charity Care and Help for the Uninsured
The affiliates of Sutter Health have offered generous charity care policies for generations.
In February 2004, Sutter Health affiliates adopted a common, systemwide charity care policy. As part of this policy, uninsured patients with annual incomes below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Level ($46,100 a year for a family of four - 2012 FPIG) may qualify to receive free care. Uninsured patients with annual incomes between 200 and 400 percent of the FPIG ($46,100-$92,200 a year for a family of four - 2012 FPIG) are billed at rates well below those charged to private insurance companies. No uninsured patient, regardless of their financial status, will receive a bill for full-billed charges at a Sutter hospital.
In March 2006, Sutter Health adopted a new policy for all of our affiliated hospitals that provides for those facilities to offer automatic discounts to uninsured patients. These discounts are comparable to the negotiated discounts that the hospitals provide to private insurance companies. Sutter Health also provides catastrophic protection to low-income uninsured patients by limiting their payment liability to 30 percent of their annual household income.
For more detailed information on these policies, how to apply or to receive answers to your questions, please contact your local Sutter Health provider. Listing of Sutter Health affiliate web sites
Learn how our charity care policy has impacted patients' lives
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Read Gayle's story
Sutter Health's Charity Care and Discount Policies at a Glance
|Policy||Patient's Annual Income Level|
(family of four)
|Charity Care |
|Below $46,100 (Less than 200% of 2012 FPIG)||Full charity care (free hospital care)|
|Partial Charity Care |
|$46,100-$92,200 (200% to 400% of 2012 FPIG)||Partial charity care (discount equal to Medicare payment)|
|Discounts for non-low-income patients without health insurance |
|Not applicable||Discounts for uninsured patients are set by the hospital at an amount between the average and lowest discounts from billed charges for all commercial fee-for-service health plans.|
Our Bill Collection Policy
Sutter Health’s standardized collection practices policy prohibits wage garnishments and bench warrants, prohibits property foreclosures and limits the cases in which liens can be filed.
Notes About These Policies
The charity care policy, the partial charity care policy, the discount policy for higher income uninsured, the catastrophic protection policy, and bill collection policy apply to all Sutter-affiliated hospitals.
The Sutter-affiliated medical foundations also have similar policies, including a charity care policy which provides for free care for patients whose income is below 200% of the FPIG, and catastrophic protection and bill collection guidelines which are similar to the hospital policies.
In Sutter-affiliated hospitals, charity care policies are limited to hospital charges and do not include physician, anesthesiologist or professional charges that are not billed by the hospital.