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A recent study shows that only about 1/3 of surveyed nonprofit hospitals give proper notification and follow specific protocols that allow them to help the needy and write it off with the IRS.

"A lot of people who don’t have health insurance worry about getting hit with huge bills if they go to the hospital. Most consumers probably don’t realize that many hospitals are supposed to let you know if you qualify for free or reduced-price care--and charge you fairly, even if you don’t have insurance.

"But a recent study found that less than half of nonprofit hospitals surveyed were telling patients they could be eligible for charity care."--Lena H. Sun, The Washington Post

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