Senate Substitute 2 for Senate Bill 8
152nd General Assembly (Present)
Becomes effective upon date of signature of the Governor or upon date specified
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 6 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO MEDICAL DEBT.
This Act is the second substitute for Senate Bill No. 8. Like Senate Bill No. 8 and its first substitute, this Act protects patients from unfair debt collection practices for medical debt, including prohibiting large health care facilities from charging interest and late fees, requiring facilities to offer reasonable payment plans, limiting the sale of debt to debt collectors unless an agreement is made to keep protections in place, providing minimum time before certain collections actions may be taken, limiting liability for the medical debt of others, and preventing the reporting of medical debt to consumer credit reporting agencies for at least one year after the debt was incurred. Violations of the provisions of this Act are considered Prohibited Trade Practices and Consumer Fraud violations. Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill No. 8 differed from Senate Bill No. 8 as it required large health-care facilities to provide information to uninsured patients regarding eligibility and the application process for medical assistance. This information must be provided at the time of service or prior to discharge and again with each billing statement. It also created a minimum threshold for eligibility for payment plans, and it reduced the timeframe in which a bill under a payment plan may be first due. The first substitute also defined “medical assistance” and “time of service,” which were not defined in Senate Bill No. 8. This Substitute differs from Senate Substitute 1 in that it changes which medical providers are subject to this Act; it increases the threshold of outstanding debt that requires a payment plan to be offered to patients; it extends the amount of time allowed to provide the medical assistance notice; it refines the definition of medical assistance; it removes examples of companies that are currently credit reporting agencies; it removes a requirement that medical assistance information be printed in any patient’s primary language; it adds a requirement that providers make oral interpretation services available to patients for anything provided under this chapter; it clarifies that the Division of Child Support Services nor anyone filing a child support action is a medical debt collector; it clarifies that anything charged to a credit card is not medical debt; it removes the minimum time before the first payment under a payment plan is due. It also adds Section 2 making this Act effective 6 months after enactment.