Waiving copays for financial hardship

March 21, 2008

I sometimes waive coinsurance for patients struggling to make ends meet. I tell them to ignore the bills and collection letters I send because I'll just write off their balances as bad debt. Is this legal?

I sometimes waive coinsurance for patients struggling to make ends meet. I tell them to ignore the bills and collection letters I send because I'll just write off their balances as bad debt. Is this legal?

Probably. Granting routine waivers could be considered fraud under state and federal law. However, physicians are generally permitted to waive copayments in particular cases of financial hardship. To steer clear of any semblance of fraud:

With such a procedure in place, you can stop sending out those unnecessary bills and collection letters. But also be aware that waiving copays may violate your contract with third-party payers. Some will permit forgiveness of the copay for a good reason, though, so discuss the matter with your patient's carrier.