End Medical Debt Maryland

End Medical Debt Maryland

End Medical Debt Maryland is a statewide coalition of 60+ organizations and community members working together to pass comprehensive medical billing reform, educate Marylanders on their rights as patients, and eliminate barriers to healthcare.

Know Your Rights When the Hospital Bill Arrives

Did you know...

1. All Maryland hospitals are required to offer FINANCIAL AID to their patients?

  • Each hospital has a different financial aid application process. You need to provide some personal financial information to qualify. Call your hospital’s billing office immediately and ask to begin your financial aid application.
  • You can file an application for financial aid even after treatment.
  • If you are denied financial aid, you can appeal the decision.
  • You can delay paying your hospital bills until you find out if you qualify for financial aid.

2. You can NEGOTIATE your hospital bill?

  • It may be a complicated process, but there are free lawyers who want to help you do it. Call Civil Justice at 410-706-0174 or call the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service at 410-547-6537.
  • If you plan to negotiate your bill, do not use a credit card to pay your hospital bill. Using a credit card takes away your ability to negotiate for a lower bill, and you will be required to pay the original amount.
  • Your hospital will provide a payment plan so you can pay your bill over a longer period of time, but you have to ask for it. Do not agree to a payment plan you cannot afford.

3. A hospital cannot send you away from the EMERGENCY ROOM because of unpaid bills?

View Medical Debt Protections: A Guide to Your Rights from the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, one of EMDMaryland's partner organizations.

Spread the word about hospital billing options & resources

This is information hospitals DON'T want you to know!

Our goal is to get the word out to make sure that every Marylander knows that they have options and rights when the hospital bill arrives.

Would you like to share this information with your community? It could be as simple as taking "Know Your Rights" flyers to work or to church with you! Click here to get started.

History & the Medical Debt Protection Act of 2021

In the state of Maryland, hospitals are allowed to sue patients over outstanding medical bills. And most of them do, even your friendly local community hospital that takes great pride in the "charity care" it provides to your community. From 2009-2018, Maryland hospitals sued 145,746 patients, with the median amount of those lawsuits being only $944.

Nobody chooses to have medical debt, and Maryland hospitals should not be allowed to prey on patients in this way. The EMDMaryland coalition formed in late 2020 to fight these predatory hospital practices.

In spring 2021, EMDMaryland successfully passed the Medical Debt Protection Act of 2021 (HB 565 / SB 514) which gave patients new protections against some of the most predatory hospital practices.

Because of this new bill —

  • Hospitals cannot put legal claims (“liens”) on patients’ homes over medical debt,
  • Hospitals cannot take the wages (“garnish wages”) of patients who qualify for free or reduced-cost care,
  • A state agency is required to develop guidelines for hospitals to establish income-based debt repayment plans, so patients can pay down their debts over time in manageable amounts, and
  • Hospitals are not allowed to sue patients for medical debt until these guidelines are created (estimated completion date is mid-2022).

But the the work continues!

Complete the individual sign-on or organizational sign-on forms to show your support and continue the fight to expand and extend these protections for Marylanders!

Meet our coalition partners

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East | Accessible Resources for Independence | AFSCME Council 3 | ATU Local 689 | ATU Local 1300 | Baltimore Teachers Union | Baltimore Women United | Carroll County Democratic Club | CASA in Action | CASH Campaign of Maryland | Civil Justice | Communications Workers of America Local 2107 | DoTheMostGood | FreeState Justice | Greater Baltimore Democratic Socialists of America | Healthcare NOW of Maryland | Housing Our Neighbors | IBEW Local 24 | IBEW Local 26 | IMAGE Center of Maryland | Independence Now  | Integrated Living Opportunities | IUOE Local 37 | Labor Campaign for Single Payer | Lower Shore Progressive Caucus | Maryland Center on Economic Policy | Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition | Maryland/DC Alliance for Retired Americans | Maryland Health Equity Alliance | Marylanders for Patient’s Rights | Maryland Legislative Coalition | Maryland NAACP | Maryland Poor People's Campaign | Maryland Professional Employees Council | Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO | Maryland State Education Association | Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service | #MEAction| Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America | Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO | MICA Organizers and Activists (MOA) | Montgomery County Democratic Socialists of America | National Nurses United | North Avenue Mission | Not Without Black Women | Our Revolution Maryland | Patient Providers, LLC | Peer Wellness and Recovery Services | Progressive Maryland | Public Justice Center | SEIU 32BJ | SEIU Local 500 | SEIU Maryland/DC State Council | Special Needs Navigator | Sunrise Movement Baltimore | The Freedom Center | UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO | UFCW Local 400 | UNITE HERE Local 7 | Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland | Women's Democratic Club of Montgomery County

Add your organization to this list!

See us in the news

CBS MoneyWatch: A side effect of the pandemic: Soaring medical debt (April 28, 2021)
Bloomberg Government: Maryland Breaks Ground With New Hospital Debt-Collection Measure (April 8, 2021)
WMAR News: Lawmakers poised to pass bill to protect Marylanders from medical debt (March 31, 2021)

Maryland Matters (Commentary): Councilwoman: Patients Not Consumers — My Family’s Medical Debt Story (March 21, 2021)
Maryland Matters: Bill to Protect Patients From Hospital Collection Efforts Advances (March 19, 2021)
Capital News Service: A Maryland House Bill Is Working to Help Patients with Medical Debt (Feb 25, 2021)
Maryland Public Television: State Circle (Feb 19, 2021)

WBAL News Radio: House committee considers bill limiting medical debt lawsuits (Feb 17, 2021)
WMAR News: Bill would protect patients from being sued over medical debt (Feb 16, 2021)
WYPR On the Record: The Burden Of Medical Debt In Maryland (Feb 16, 2021)
The Daily Record: Md. bill would curb some medical debt collection practices (Feb 16, 2021)

Follow @EMDMaryland on Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Contact: Brig Dumais, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, brigette.dumais@1199.org

Our Actions

Apply To Join